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SL v IND, first ODI Review: Shikhar Dhawan’s blazing ton helps India dismantle the hosts

Dhawan and Kohli bludgeoned the Lankan bowlers as India took a 1-0 lead in the series in comprehensive style.

Shikhar Dhawan
Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan celebrates after he scored a century. (Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images)

It was an onslaught from Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli at Dambulla which saw India take a 1-0 lead in the series in some style. Whilst Kohli played the second fiddle, Dhawan went after the Sri Lankan bowlers and smashed a stellar hundred to gift India a 9-wicket win with over 21 overs remaining.

Niroshan Dickwella (64 off 74 balls) and Danushka Gunathilaka (35 off 44 balls) provided a quintessential start to Sri Lanka after Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bowl. The Lankan openers made the Indian skipper think about his decision for a while as they went all out against the Indian new ball bowlers. Dickwella was the aggressor, who played some delightful shots across the park whilst Gunathilaka was a bit watchful.

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The partnership soon reached the 50 mark and the hosts were off to a blazing start. Kohli decided to bring the spinners on and Yuzvendra Chahal immediately made an impact, picking up the prized scalp of Gunathilaka. He attempted a reverse sweep and miscued it completely, only to get a top edge straight to the covers.

After he walked back, Kusal Mendis (36 off 37 balls) and Dickwella did bat for some time and ensured there was no collapse. Mendis went after the bowlers and he got some boundaries off the spinners. After batting for almost ten overs together, Dickwella lost his cool as he gifted his wicket away to part-timer Kedar Jadhav and Sri Lanka found themselves at 139/2 in 25 overs.

Axar induces Sri Lanka into self-destruction

There was nothing to brag about for the Lankan lions after Dickwella’s dismissal as Axar Patel stole the show from there on. He first picked up Kusal Mendis’ wicket by sending his stumps for a ride. Upul Tharanga was the next to go as Jadhav picked his second wicket of the game and Sri Lanka was in all sorts of trouble.

Mathews (36 off 50 balls) tried to gather some crucial runs but the lower order of the hosts got brutally dismantled by the Indian bowlers. The final six Sri Lankan batters registered an aggregate of 16 runs, which explains how poor they were on the big day. From 139/1, Sri Lanka got dismissed for 216. Axar was the star of the show as he picked up three wickets giving away just 34 runs. Bumrah, Chahal and Jadhav picked a brace each.

Dhawan at his fearless best!

An unfortunate run-out saw Rohit Sharma walk back very early in the innings. In an attempt to scamper through to a single, Rohit’s bat got stuck in the grass when he tried to drag the bat and Kapugedara’s direct hit did the rest. That was the final occasion in the game when the hosts had a smile on their face as what followed was a deadly tornado.

Virat Kohli often plays the lead role but today, he was the anchor as Dhawan was in the mood to bludgeon the bowlers. He danced down the ground with perfection, drove with authority, his cuts and flicks were fierce and his body language was just fearless. Dhawan completed a half-century with a huge six off the chinaman bowler Sandakan and the skipper Upul Tharanga was helpless.

After his fifty, he upped the ante and started scoring runs even quicker. Virat too played some delightful shots here and there to remind people that he too was batting, such was the dominance of Dhawan. Hasaranga and Sandakan were toiled by Dhawan and Kohli as they kept inching towards a hundred and a fifty respectively.

Dhawan was the first to get to his hundred with three boundaries off Hasaranga’s 22nd over. Virat Kohli then got to his half-century with a single down the ground and a nonchalant celebration followed. Indians were in complete command by then as they stood at 155, needing just 62 in 28 overs.

Dhawan came close to getting dismissed a couple times later, but the duo managed to bat out the innings and script a victory that demoralized the already wounded hosts. Dhawan finished off at 132 off 90 balls whereas the skipper piled up 82 off 70 balls as India danced their way to a 1-0 lead in the series.

Brief Scores:

Sri Lanka: 216 all out in 43.2 overs (Niroshan Dickwella 64, Angelo Mathews 36; Axar Patel 3/34)

India: 220/1 in 28.5 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 132*, Virat Kohli 82*)

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