SL vs Ind: Dhawan engineers India's emphatic nine-wicket victory
Dambulla: Smashing his 11th ton, Dhawan flashed the double V sign, assuring team management that he is set for the 2019 World Cup.
It was Shikhar Dhawan's game. Barely been challenged by the bowlers, Indian batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli dominated the game in style as thumped hosts Sri Lanka by nine wickets with 21.5 overs remaining in the first match of the five-match ODI series against India at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium here on Sunday.
Lankans were sent on a leather hunt by Indian batsmen. It was the show of arrogance by Dhawan and Kohli. Dhawan notched up his century in just 71 balls. He cracked 20 fours and 3 biggies in his 90-ball 132-run knock.
On the other hand, Virat, who played the second fiddle, scored breezy 82 off 70 with 10 fours and a six.
Coming in to chase a relatively low total, openers Rohit Sharma and Dhawan started the innings on a steady note but Rohit failed to support the Delhi batsman for long as he was dismissed in the fifth over with barely 23 runs on the board. Rohit Sharma was bit unlucky as his foot was in the air and his bat was lost when ball kissed the stumps. After the dismissal of hit-man, mockery of SL bowling began.
India record its biggest win in terms of balls to spare while chasing a target over 200.
Dhawan has become the second batsman after Virender Sehwag to smash a fastest century. Sehwag took just 66 balls to hit a ton against islanders in 2009.
Earlier, Sri Lanka, despite getting steady start, lost the momentum in the middle overs and was bundled for 216 runs in 43.2 overs.
The top three batsmen maintained a perfect run-rate till the halfway-mark of the allotted 50 overs. Some reckless shots played by SL batsmen spoiled its brilliant start.
After being put to bat, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka provided islanders the start that they were looking for. Together with Dickwella, Gunathilaka stitched 74-run stand.
India's ploy to use pacer Jasprit Bumrah as the first change also failed as all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was brought in for Bumrah, was smashed by the Sri Lankan batman. Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar also failed to click this time.
But soon, after 12 overs, when the spinners were introduced, it was India gaining the upper edge as the Sri Lankan batsman found it difficult to tackle them.
Gunathilaka got out at a score of 35 which came in 44 balls with four boundaries.
After the dismissal of Gunathilaka, Dickwella continued its good run and shared 65-run partnership with Mendis.
Things were going fine for Lankans till Dickwella's existence. But, Kedar Jadhav came, cementing his place, more as an all-rounder. Dickwella was given leg before wicket to Kedar Jadhav. Playing a 64-run knock, he remained the top scorer for his side.
It was just after Dickwella's wicket that the Sri Lankans lost the plot and started losing their wickets at regular intervals. Apart from the top-three batsmen, no other player stood up to the Indian pressure and went back to the pavilion one by one.
Anjelo Mathews (36 not out) somehow managed to stick at the wicket but lack of support from the other end resulted in a low total for the hosts.
Mathews apart, other middle-order batsmen Upul Tharanga (13), Chamara Kapugedera (1) Wanidu Hasaranga (2) scored a total of 16 runs only.
Lower-order players Thisara Perera (0), Lakshan Sandakan (5) and Lasith Malinga (8) tried to make up for the middle-order collapse but failed and thus, after a perfect start, the Islanders were restricted to 216.
For India, left-arm spinner Axar Patel scalped three wickets while Bumrah, Chahal and Jadhav took two wickets each.
Sri Lanka 216 all out (Niroshan Dickwella 64 and Anjelo Mathews 36 not out; Axar Patel 3/34) against India.
India 220/1 (Shikhar Dhawan 132* and Virat Kohli 82*) against Sri Lanka
Man of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan