Shikhar Dhawan’s ton, Axar Patel’s best help India floor Sri Lanka in Dambulla

Shikhar Dhawan’s unbeaten 132 helped India crush Sri Lanka by nine wickets to take 1-0 lead in five-match series. Axar Patel took three wickets for the winners.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 20, 2017 23:45 IST
N. Ananthanarayanan
N. Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Dambulla
India vs Sri Lanka,Sri Lanka vs India,Virat Kohli
India captain Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan after the team’s win over Sri Lanka in the first ODI in Dambulla.(REUTERS)

The Indian cricket team’s domination of Sri Lanka on the current tour has been so complete that the home team’s slim hopes of a turnaround rested on a change in format. (SL vs IND HIGHLIGHTS)

However, Sri Lanka spurned the opportunity with a sensational batting collapse that undermined the team’s first half-century opening stand of the tour as India crushed the hosts by nine wickets in the first One-day International at the Dambulla International Stadium. (SL vs IND LIVE SCORECARD)

Opener Shikhar Dhawan smashed his 11th One-day International century to leave Sri Lanka shattered. He led the team to victory in some style after left-arm Axar Patel grabbed a career-best haul of 3/34 in a seven-wicket show by spinners on Virat Kohli electing to bowl.

India dismissed Sri Lanka for 216 in 43.2 overs before racing to 220 for one in just 28.5 overs.

Shikhar, relentless against Sri Lanka on this tour after scoring 190 in the Galle Test and 119 in the final Test in Pallekele, scored an unbeaten 128, his sixth 50-plus ODI knock against the opposition. His domination spoilt veteran pacer Lasith Malinga’s 200th ODI.

Shikhar shared an unbroken 197-run second-wicket partnership with Kohli, who was unbeaten on 82 off 70 balls (10x4, 1x6) after Rohit Sharma was run out for four.

Shikhar reached his century in just 71 balls, and hit 20 fours and three sixes in his 90-ball effort.

READ | Shikhar Dhawan’s rich form continues, century helps India beat Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s left-handed openers Niroshan Dickwella and Dhanushka Gunathilaka played themselves in on a good pitch to raise the hopes of a holiday crowd.

Axar Patel (2R) celebrates with his teammates after he dismissed Sri Lanka’sr Lakshan Sandakan. (AFP)

Dickwella, who top scored with 64, and Gunathilaka (35) raised 74 in 14 overs as Sri Lanka looked like they would at least put up a decent fight for the first time on the tour.

However, Kohli used the spin of Axar, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and Kedar Jadhav to frustrate both, and the two in-form batsmen lost focus and it all came apart.

Kohli opened the bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and all-rounder Hardik Pandya, and held back Jasprit Bumrah till later. Pandya pitched it up and gave away little.

READ | Virat Kohli completes 44th ODI half-century vs Sri Lanka

If that was an experiment as India begin preparations for the 2019 World Cup, they had to fall back on old tactics, taking the pace off and the Sri Lankan batsmen caved in.

After a mix-up that almost led to a run out off the first ball of a Chahal over – the 14th – Gunathilaka failed to control a reverse hit to be caught at mid-on by KL Rahul off the last ball of that over. Jadhav then trapped Dickwella, who hit two centuries in the loss to Zimbabwe in the previous ODI series, with a faster delivery. A needless review didn’t help.

READ | Indian spin depth to the fore against Sri Lanka in Dambulla ODI

From 139 for one, Sri Lanka lost the next six wickets for 39 runs, the batsmen guilty of playing rash shots. The last nine wickets fell for 77 runs.

Kusal Mendis helped add 65 runs for the second wicket with Dickwella, but was bowled by Axar trying to whip to the on-side. New skipper Upul Tharanga played a shocker, lofting a full toss from Jadhav straight to long on.

Jadhav took 2/26 and Chahal, playing his first game for over a year, 2/60.

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 14:33 IST