Shikhar Dhawan’s third Champions Trophy century guided India to 321-6 against Sri Lanka at the Oval on Thursday.
Despite losing the toss, India have put themselves in an excellent position to secure another Group B victory and all but seal their spot in the Champions Trophy semi-finals.
Like their opener against Pakistan, India lost the toss and amassed a 300-plus score. 319-3 was the score last week, 321-6 is what they’ll settle for at the Oval today, and they’ll back themselves to defend this total against an under-fire Sri Lanka batting unit.
Sri Lanka were boosted with the return from injury of skipper Angelo Mathews, but opener and vice-captain Upul Tharanga started the first of his two-match ban after being punished for a low over-rate against the Proteas on Saturday.
Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal failed to make use of helpful bowling conditions under overcast skies, as Rohit Sharma and Dhawan amassed 138 for the opening stand.
Sharma was in devastating form, backing up his 91 from the Pakistan clash with 78 of those 138 runs, which included three sixes and six fours from 79 balls, before being caught on the square boundary.
Virat Kohli suffered a rare failure the next over as he gave catching practice to Niroshan Dickwella behind the stumps to walk for a duck. Yuvraj Singh was then kicking himself six overs later as he blocked an Asela Gunaratne delivery, which bounced back on to the stumps for seven.
With Sri Lanka back in the contest at 179-3, MS Dhoni went about putting his side firmly back on top, and he did so with an 80-run stand with Dhawan. In the process, Dhawan brought up his 10th ODI century, and joined Chris Gayle, Herschelle Gibbs and Sourav Gangly at the top of the century-makers list in the Champions Trophy.
Dhoni powered on to a 62nd half-century off 46 balls, and his knock was vital as it was accompanied by cameos from Hardik Pandya (nine off five) and Kedar Jadhav (25 off 13). 51 runs were scored off the last five overs, with Dhoni departing for 63 off the final over, to get India to 321-6.
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