After dominating the Test series with a 3-0 series whitewash, Team India continued their commanding show in Sri Lanka with a 9-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the five match series, at Dambulla on Sunday evening.
Electing to bat, the Sri Lankan opening pair of Niroshan Dickwella (64) and Danushka Gunathilaka (35) looked determined to give the visitors a run for their money, with a quick-fire 74-run stand. Kusal Mendis (36) ensured that the good work of the opening pair continued, steering the team to a comfortable 1/139 in the 25th over.
Unfortunately, for the hosts, the bad habits of the Test series crept back into their game as they collapsed from this dominant position to a paltry 216 all out in the 44th over, losing the last 9 wickets for only 77 runs.
Despite the absence of lead spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the Indian spinners ensured that their presence wasn’t missed. Axar Patel (3/34) was the pick of the bowlers, while Kedar Jadhav (2/26), Yuzvendra Chahal (2/60) and limited-overs specialists Jasprit Bumrah (2/22) played their roles to perfection.
The chase began on not so bright a note for the visitors as newly appointed vice-captain, Rohit Sharma (4) was dismissed run-out.
However the in-form Shikhar Dhawan continued his great run in the Emerald Isles, smashing his fastest ever ODI hundred in only 71 balls. Dhawan’s 11th ODI ton, featured 20 boundaries and 3 sixes. Remaining unbeaten on 132 off only 90 balls, the southpaw ensured that the Men-in-Blue cantered home in the 29th over, India’s biggest win in terms of balls to spare while chasing a 200-plus target. Skipper Virat Kohli, was his usual consisted self in the coloured format, notching up his 44th ODI fifty, as he remained unbeaten on 82 (70). Dhawan was adjudged Man-of-the-Match.