Different day, different clothing but similar result as India, riding on another Shikhar Dhawan’s brutal assault, thump Sri Lanka by nine wickets in the 1st ODI of the five-match series. The Blues replaced the Whites but it had no bearing on the manner in which Dhawan operated in the middle. The left-hander was on the charge from the word go and Rohit Sharma’s early departure, in the fifth over of the chase, didn’t affect his game one bit as he continued to find the fence on regular occasions.
Ever since he has landed in Sri Lanka, Dhawan is yet to put a foot wrong. In the series opener in Dambulla, he elegantly planted his front-foot forward against the seamers Lasith Malinga and Vishwa Fernando, and was very busy while facing the spinners. Lakshan Sandakan had a decent start to his spell when Dhawan misread the length and looked very clumsy when he missed the sweep but that probably was the only occasion when the chinaman disturbed the Delhi dasher.
Post that play and a miss, Dhawan used his feet well and was not afraid to step out on regular intervals. This disturbed the spinner’s rhythm and made him bowl at ordinary lengths which turned out to be easy pickings for an on-song Dhawan. He was fresh from a hundred in the last Test against Sri Lanka and he’s making sure to make the good run count.
Off 71 balls, he scored his fastest hundred in the format and gave the visitors no chance of a fightback in the contest. Just like he successfully did in the first Test. It took him just two sessions to deliver a blow which Sri Lanka couldn’t recover from in the remaining period of the Test. Sunday was no different.
Rohit Sharma’s early departure – courtesy a lazy run – could have raised Sri Lanka’s hopes of making the contest interesting but Dhawan was in no mood to bat himself in. 36 balls and he brought up his fifty and did the job in fluent fashion with Virat Kohli.
It was one of those rare occasions where Kohli was more of a spectator from the other end. The Indian skipper remained unbeaten on 82 and played a very fluent supporting role to Dhawan. The right-hander gave nothing away and looked very determined to see the side home in the modest chase.
Earlier in the day, after put into bat, Sri Lanka were off to a solid start with Niroshan Dickwella, Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis getting off to starts but the hosts lost control in the middle-overs a triggered a slide which they could never recover from.
From 150/2, they collapsed to 187/8 as the lower-order failed to get going. Angelo Mathews remained unbeaten on 36 as the all-rounder got no support from the other end. For the visitors, Axar Patel was pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/34 while Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and part-timer Kedar Jadhav returned with two wickets each.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga (c), Angelo Mathews, Chamara Kapugedara, Wanindu Hasaranga, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga, Vishwa Fernando.