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Clinical Sri Lanka take 1-0 lead in ODIs

After the 1-0 win in the Tests, India faced Sri Lanka in the first ODI at Dharamsala. With Virat Kohli not in the picture, Rohit Sharma was made the captain for the series. The visitors won the toss and elected to bowl first for this day/night game. For India, Shreyas Iyer made his ODI debut with Kuldeep Yadav and Manish Pandey also included.

The conditions were perfect for swing and seam bowling and the Sri Lankan bowlers did just that. Suranga Lakmal and Angelo Mathews, who was bowling gentle medium pacers, got enough movement in the air and off the pitch. Shikhar Dhawan (0) struggled to cope up with it and was trapped LBW by Mathews. The Lankan bowlers were accurate and troubling Rohit and debutant, Iyer as well. Rohit (2) too, followed his opening partner as he edged one to Dickwella. India were put in more trouble when Dinesh Karthik (0) was adjudged LBW off Lakmal. They were 8/3 and 16/4 when Manish Pandey (2) was caught in the slips.

Iyer got the company of MS Dhoni and as things were looking settled, Nuwan Pradeep sent the Mumbai batsmen back to the pavilion. Hardik Pandya looked positive but could not score many runs. He made 10 before edging to the slips. India were reduced to 29/7 when Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave a simple catch to Dickwella off Lakmal. MS Dhoni now had the challenge to take the tail-enders with him and post a respectable total on the board. But with the sun belting down, the pitch changed its behaviour and scoring runs became easy. Kuldeep struck few fours and Dhoni too, not holding back to hit the big shots. The duo was looking settled with the pacers getting tired after bowling a long spell. Lakmal finished with 4/13 in his 10 overs.

Off spinner Akila Dananjaya, broke the 41-run partnership when Kuldeep (19) was stumped smartly. With Bumrah and Chahal to follow, Dhoni decided to flex his muscles and get some runs for the team. He completed his 67th ODI fifty as India went past 100. India were bowled out for 112 in 38.2 overs with Dhoni (65) contributing the most.

With just 113 to chase, the Sri Lankan batsmen had a comparatively easy chase. Even they had a stuttering start with Danushka Gunathilaka and Lahiru Thirimanne departing for 1 and 0 respectively. But Upul Tharanga was looking in great touch and finding boundaries perfectly. He, along with Angelo Mathews made sure Sri Lanka don’t falter in the easy chase. Rohit tried to change ends of his bowlers but the two batsmen were playing sensibly. Tharanga departed for 49 but it was all too easy for the visitors. Mathews (25*) and Dickwella (26*) finished things off as Sri Lanka won in the 21st over with 7 wickets remaining. Suranga Lakmal won the Man of the Match award for his brilliant spell up-front.