In a breathtaking batting display, India powered to a comprehensive 7-wicket triumph with 80 balls to spare despite the absence of star players Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, in chasing down Sri Lanka’s 262 for 9 wickets to go 1-up in the 3-match ODI series at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday.
Skipper Shikhar Dhawan led from the front in a typical unbeaten captain marvel knock of 86 off 95 balls hitting 6 boundaries and a six while Prithvi Shaw hit a 24-ball 43 inclusive of 9 boundaries putting on 58 for the first wicket off 33 balls in Indians 263 for 3 off 36.4 overs at a run rate of 7.17. It took the game away from Sri Lanka after new captain Dasun Shanaka had won the toss and elected to bat.. Shaw’s cameo earned him the Player of the Match award. The comparison to the Lankan openers 49 between Avishka Fernando and Minod Bhanuka’s 49 off 55 deliveries that put the Indians slightly ahead was however the gathering steam for the 85-run second wicket off 74 balls between Dhawan and debutant Ishan Kishan 59 off 42 (8×4,2×6) as India raced to 143 for 2 from where Dhawan continued to further consolidate adding 72 for the third wicket with Manish Pandey who made 26 off 40 (1×4, 1×6). The Indian skipper fittingly figured in the final 48- run charge that gave Dhawan a champagne maiden triumph in the big boots though in a subdued role letting Suriyakumar Yadav do the brunt of the scoring – 31 off 20 studded with 5 boundaries.
Sri Lanka’s 7 sixes as against India’s 4 (3 of them coming up front with debutant Bhanuka Rajapaksa lacing 2 and Avishka Fernando 1 followed by 2 from No.8 Chamika Karunaratne and 1 from Dushmantha Chameera), could not make a difference with the Indian batsmen smashing 29 boundaries to Sri Lanka’s 14. The highest individual score from the Lankan camp was No.8 Chamika Karunaratne who was unbeaten on 43 off 35 hitting a boundary in addition to the two over the top. It was followed by Skipper Dasun Shanaka’s 39 off 50 with 2 boundaries and a six. Upfront, Avishka Fernando , who made 33 off 35 (2×4, 1×6) was the first to go caught by Pandey off Chahal. The advent of Bhanuka Rajapaksa in the pivotal No.3 slot produced 36 runs for the second wicket between Minod Bhanuka, who made 27 off 44 (3×4), Rajapaksa struck a breezy 24 off 22 reeling off 2 sixes and 2 boundaries before attempting to pull one from Kuldeep Yadav on the off and top edging for Dhawan to take a running catch – 85 for 2 off 16.1 overs. Yadav went on to claim his second wicket in the over three balls later that of Minod Bhanuka baited to driving a delivery outside the off stump and edging to Shaw. Dhananjaya de Silva made 14 off 27 caught by Kumar off Pandya as Sri Lanka slipped to 117 for 4 off 24.4 overs. It followed a fifth wicket revival between Charith Asalanka, who made 38 off 65 (1×4), and Dasun Shanaka before the former fell to Chahal caught behind by Ishan Kishan – 5 for 166 in 37.2. Wanindu Hasaranga went for 8 becoming Chahar’s second victim caught by Dhawan 6 for 186 off the third delivery of the 40th over. Shanaka’s resistance ended when Chahal had him taken by Pandya – 205 for 7, 43.5. But Chamika Karunaratne displayed gall adding 17 for the eighth wicket with Isuru Udana who made 8 when the latter was sent back by Pandya to a catch to Chahar. No.10 Dushmantha swung his bat hitting a six and boundary in a plucky 13 adding 40 runs for the ninth wicket befor running himself out.
Chahar was the pick of the bowlers for India claiming 2 for 37 off 7 overs while sending down a maiden over.
Sri Lanka 262/9 (50 Overs) RR: 5.24
(Chamika Karunaratne n.o. 43, Dasun Shanaka 39, Charith Asalanka 38, Avishka Fernando 33, Minod Bhanuka 27, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 24, Dushmantha Chameera 13, Deepak Chahar 2/37, Kuldeep Yadav 2/48, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/52)
India 263/3 (36.4 Overs) RR: 7.17
(Shikhar Dhawan n.o. 86, Ishan Kishan 59, Prithvi Shaw 43, Suriyakumar Yadav n.o. 31, Manish Pandey 26, Dhananjaya de Silva 2/49, Lakshan Sandakan 1/53)