The Sri Lanka innings came alive in the final five overs when the lower order hammered 52 runs to take the total to 262 in the first ODI against India on Sunday. Having stuttered after electing to bat, it was the kind of effort that would have left them buoyant at the break.
The mood didn't last long after the restart though as the hosts got their first glimpse of India's young guns Prithvi Shaw and Ishan Kishan at Colombo's R Premadasa Stadium. The opener smashed a 24-ball 43 (9x4) while debutant Kishan took his chances to smash an entertaining 42-ball 59 (8x4, 2x6). Skipper Shikhar Dhawan played a matured hand of 86 not out off 95 balls (6x4, 1x6) as India started the limited-overs series on a dominant note, reaching 263/3 in 36.4 overs.
Coming out to defend their total under lights, Sri Lanka bowlers were under pressure straightaway. Opening the attack, Dushmantha Chameera did not do much wrong, but Shaw was in a belligerent mood. The second ball of the innings was driven through covers and the third punched off the back-foot, both off decent deliveries, for a nine-run over.
Sharing the new ball, Isuru Udana was wayward and Shaw took toll of it. After picking two fours in the left-arm pacer's first over, Udana was rattled with three successive boundaries. When the left-arm pacer pitched one up, Shaw came a full stride forward to drive through cover; a wider ball was driven between point and cover and a third ball was uppishly cut to the fence. Off the fifth over by Chameera, the opener hit two more fours through cover to bring up India's fifty in 4.5 overs. Shaw's contribution was 43 while Dhawan, on seven off seven balls, was content to enjoy the show from the non-striker's end.
At that point, Chameera produced a fiery bouncer, hitting the Mumbai batsman on the head. It was a heavy blow and Shaw was out soon after. Sri Lanka brought on spin in the sixth over and off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva got Shaw to play early and hole out to long-on.
With debutant Kishan also opting to attack the bowling from the start, there was no let-up for Sri Lanka. After 10 overs, India were 91/1 and well ahead of the game, the required run down to 4.30.
Kishan, who reached fifty off 33 balls, started his ODI career with a six and four, and then dismantled Dhananjaya de Silva with three back-to-back fours in his second over. The southpaw smashed 22 runs off the first nine balls he faced from the offie.
KUL-CHA SHOW BACK
The story of the Sri Lanka innings was about starts but none went on to get even a half-century. Every time a partnership was beginning to develop into a sizeable one, they would lose a wicket. It is the second highest score in ODIs for a team without a single 50-run stand. Chamika Karunaratne was the only player to get past 40 (43* off 35 balls).
The highlight of India's bowling was the spin-pair of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal bowling together in an ODI for the first time since the 2019 World Cup. They served a reminder of the threat they can pose by claiming two wickets each. Hardik Pandya, who's bowling performance is being closely watched, sent down five overs for 33 runs, picking up a wicket.