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India v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI 2017- 5 Talking Points

Sri Lanka beat India by 7 wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

Suranga Lakmal Sri Lanka
Suranga Lakmal celebrates a wicket. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Just like the Test series, India had come into the ODI series against Sri Lanka as favourites being No. 2 in the ODI team rankings, but the visitors managed to pull off an upset in the very first game at Dharamshala as they beat the Men in Blue by 7 wickets. It was a clinical victory for the Sri Lankans as they outplayed India in all departments of the game.

With this win, the Thisara Perera led team managed to end their 12-match losing streak in ODIs. Having taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series, they will believe in themselves and come hard when they meet next in Mohali. Here are the 5 talking points of the game:

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1. Suranga Lakmal’s spell

The pitch in Dharamsala was definitely bowler friendly. It had a green tinge on it and carried a lot of moisture since it has been raining and snowing in Himachal Pradesh on the days leading into the game. However, pitching the ball in the right areas was still important for the bowlers to make the batsmen commit mistakes and Lakmal did that with perfection.

He bowled around the off-stump channel and got movement in the air as well as off the track. None of the Indian batsmen looked comfortable against him as he finished with the figures of 10-4-13-4.

2. MS Dhoni’s half century

With the kind of technique Dhoni has, one would generally think that he would be in all sorts of troubles batting in conditions where the ball seams around. But he has shown time and again that temperament is a greater supplement over technique and he showed it one more time in this today’s game with a sparkling half century and fought a lone battle for India while the wickets were tumbling down at the other end.

Dhoni often stepped out of the crease to negate the movement of the ball and at times also shuffled towards off stump to take the lbw out of the equation. The former captain was the last man dismissed for India at the score of 65 having faced 87 deliveries and hit 10 boundaries and 2 sixes.

3. Jasprit Bumrah’s no ball

No Indian fan would have forgotten the no ball Bumrah bowled in the final of the Champions Trophy earlier this year against Pakistan. That mistake cost India the title as Fakhar Zaman who was the batsman on that occasion went on to score a match winning hundred and guided Pakistan to a score of 339 which proved to be a match winning total in the end.

Bumrah who had bowled just one no ball since repeated that mistake again today. He got Upul Tharanga out caught behind the wickets when Sri Lanka’s score was just 19, but when the umpires checked it, the Gujarat fast bowler had overstepped the line which meant Tharanga got a life and he carried on. It was such a crunch moment in the game as India were looking for early wickets defending a tiny total of 112 and Tharanga’s wicket there would have been huge.

4. Upul Tharanga’s knock

He was struggling to put bat on ball initially as the ball was hooping around corners for the first 5 overs, but India later fed him with wide deliveries which allowed him to free his arms and score boundaries on the off side which is his strong side.

While the Indian bowlers didn’t get the line right giving him too much room, they erred with the length as well bowling either too short or too full. Tharanga, to his credit, pounced on every bad delivery that came his way and kept the scoreboard ticking. He, however, couldn’t complete his half-century as he edged one to first slip off the bowling of Hardik Pandya on the score of 49.

5. Niroshan Dickwella’s counterpunch

While Tharanga had already made the chase easier for Sri Lanka with a stroke filled 49, the game was still not completely in the grasp of the visitors when the veteran left-hander got out. A couple of quick wickets there would have made things interesting again.

But Dickwella came out and played his natural game and made sure Sri Lanka didn’t give India any sniff. He went for his shots and took his chances. The wicketkeeper-batsman finished with the score of 26 off 24 balls, which in the context of a low scoring game was invaluable.

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