Skipper Shikhar Dhawan and debutant Ishan Kishan hit half-centuries as India hammered Sri Lanka by seven wickets this past Sunday in the first ODI of a series delayed by coronavirus.
Chasing 263 for victory, India depended on Dhawan’s 33rd ODI half-century, fellow opener Prithvi Shaw’s 24-ball 43 and an attacking 59 by Kishan to gallop to their target in just 36.4 overs and lead the three-match series in Colombo.
Shaw was named man of the match for getting India off to a flying start. The left-handed Dhawan then kept up the momentum with big partnerships with Kishan, who turned 23 on Sunday, Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav, who made an unbeaten 31.
“It was good to be on the other end and watch Prithvi and Ishan. I was telling them to take it easy actually,” Dhawan said after the win.
“The way these young boys play in the IPL [Indian Premier League], they get lots of exposure and they just finished the game in the first 15 overs only.”
Kishan and Yadav – both IPL stars for champions Mumbai Indians – are part of an up-and-coming talent in the Indian limited-overs side while Virat Kohli’s Test squad is in England awaiting a five-match series in August and September.
Shaw, who has been acclaimed as one of India’s brightest but most unpredictable talents, lost his wicket to Dhananjaya de Silva after getting hit on the helmet in the previous over.
The left-handed Kishan, a wicketkeeper-batsman, started his ODI career with a six and then hit three successive boundaries off De Silva. He scored his fifty with a boundary before a thin edge had him falling to Lakshan Sandakan.
Sri Lanka, led by Dasun Shanaka, lost wickets regularly after electing to bat first but number eight Chamika Karunaratne’s quick-fire 43 lifted the side to 262 for nine in 50 overs.
“The Indians batted aggressively. We needed to vary the pace as the ball was coming on to the bat nicely,” said Shanaka. “In the next game [on Tuesday], we will have to improve on that.”
Indian pace bowler Deepak Chahar, spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav claimed two wickets each.
The limited-overs series, that also includes three T20I matches, was rescheduled and the original start date of 13 July pushed back by five days due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Sri Lankan camp following batting coach Grant Flower’s positive test on return from their tour of England.
Sri Lanka, who had already been hit hard by the suspension of three players including Kusal Mendis and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella for breaching the team’s bio-bubble in England, suffered an injury blow after captain Kusal Perera was ruled out of the series.
©️ Agence France-Presse