Sri Lanka v India, 1st ODI: CT Player of the day- Shikhar Dhawan

Sri Lanka v India, 1st ODI: CT Player of the day- Shikhar Dhawan

Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan's 90-ball unbeaten 132 guided India to a 9-wicket win.

Shikhar Dhawan India
Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Apart from the first 45 minutes, everything reminded us of the Test series between the two sub-continental sides. Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan once again seized the day, and this time the match as well with his clean hitting. A 90-ball 132, courtesy 20 boundaries and three giant sixes were enough to take the visitors home inside 29 overs.

Lankans lost the plot

A solid start from the hosts signaled at a more competitive series but once Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal earned the first breakthrough, by getting the prized scalp of a well-set Danushka Gunathilaka, the innings started to get shaky. At 74/1, Sri Lanka still had the scope to capitalize but a flurry of wickets after the fall of Niroshan Dickwella paved way for the Indians.

Dickwella looked confident from the very start and was on the go. He found the ropes on eight occasions and maintained a strike rate of well over 85. His partnership with Gunathilaka turned out to be the only sparkling sight in an otherwise somber day for the home team. Dickwella perished for a 74-ball 64. It was also the highest score of the Sri Lankan innings.

India’s Axar Patel impressed one and all with his control and presence of mind. He took home the best figures (3/34), and one of his big scalps was Kusal Mendis, who was bowled for 36 off 37 balls. Mendis just started to look threatening and at one stage, he gave an assurance that a score of anything beyond 260 was still very much possible.

The rest of the lineup looked like a mobile digit, as former skipper Angelo Matthews kept losing partners at the other end. Chamara Kapugedera was run-out by the Indian skipper, whereas Thisara Perera lost his stick to Jasprit Bumrah. Tail-ender Vishwa Fernando could only pose for a perfect fast bowler’s picture, as Bumrah cleaned him up to perfection. A dejected Matthews standing at the other end couldn’t help matters either and his facial expression did justice to the Lankan scorecard.

Gabbar guides India to a thumping win

A fairytale like Test series, where he was awarded the Man of the Series, after replacing an injured Murali Vijay and then an ill KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan has made it count in this series. He milked the bowlers well, took sharp singles, a few lives on the way proved that his style is still the same and that is how he has scored all his runs so far.

He didn’t find the support from the other opener Rohit Sharma, whose average against Sri Lanka sits at a pretty low figure. He was run out for just 4 and the skipper Virat Kohli came in with the score at 23/1. From there on, it all looked like an old classic DVD, where you already knew the result of the game. None of the two looked to be in trouble and the duo ensured that the Lankan bowlers keep a neat figure in their wickets column.

At one point, the only interesting debate was out of the two, who gets the landmarks first. Dhawan reached his hundred at ease and did Kohli, who brought up yet another half century. He would have probably gone on to make a hundred but Sri Lanka did this part right. It all looked just a mere formality at the end as the winning runs were brought in the 29th over. Just 53 balls more than a T20 game.

It was a treat to watch for the cricket lovers to watch Dhawan and Kohli bat together. The duo was sending the ball to all parts of the ground. Especially, Dhawan was toying with the bowlers and faced absolutely no trouble facing the bowlers. India would be delighted to see him carrying on the majestic form.