The way Shikhar Dhawan eviscerated the Sri Lankan bowling department in this very first game of this five match series, the word ‘devastating’ would be a mere euphemism to describe the current mental state of the Lankans.
After they put on a paltry 219 run target on the board, the Indian southpaw with the sobriquet “Gabbar” alongside his skipper, literally bulldozed through their bowling and chased it down with a whopping 22.1 overs remaining.
Dhawan reached his fastest ODI century taking just 71 deliveries and finished at 132 not out off 90 balls. What is even more humiliating for Sri Lanka is that he scored more boundaries than their entire team could manage (20 fours and 3 sixes). While Dhawan was an embodiment of annihilation, his partner Kohli completed another successful chase by supporting him with his sterling 82 off 70 balls which was bejewelled by 10 fours and a colossal six.
When India decided to rely on their prowess of chasing runs after Virat Kohli won the fourth consecutive toss in this series, things started to look bright for Sri Lanka for the first time. Both Dickwella and Gunatilaka were off to a blistering start and they added 50 odd runs in their opening partnership. But the moment Axar Patel dislodged to Kushal Mendis’s leg stump with a quicker, the land slide commenced yet again.
The left arm orthodox spinner would be mighty pleased with his comeback performance in this match (34/3 in 10 overs) and so would be Kedar Jadhav. His non-turning slow off-spinners seemed indecipherable to the Sri Lankan top order. Kedar caused the initial blow by taking out in form Dickwella and their skipper Tharanga in his five overs.
As far as the Indian pacers are concerned, Jasprit Bumrah made another scintillating spectacle of death bowling by uprooting two of the Sri Lankan tail-enders’ stumps with his signature toe crushing Yorkers.
If the Lankans continue to make the very same mistakes ad infinitum, their fate is very unlikely to change with the vicissitude of the formats.
India 220 for 1 (Dhawan 132*, Kohli 82*) defeated Sri Lanka 216 (Dickwella 64, Axar 3-34, Jadhav 2-26) by nine wickets