Colombo: Shikhar Dhawan struck an unbeaten 86 in his first match as Indian team skipper and Ishan Kishan blasted 59 off 42 balls on ODI debut as India thrashed hosts, Sri Lanka, by seven wickets in the first ODI of the three-match series here on Sunday.
The team coached by Rahul Dravid was called a “second-string side” by Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga before the start of the tour. And though the hosts were forced to put up a ‘second’ squad after some key players had to be left out due to disciplinary reasons and injuries, the Indians were clinical in executing their plans and won the match without breaking a sweat.
Dhawan led from the front, anchoring the innings as fellow opener Prithvi Shaw and then-No. 3 Ishan Kishan blasted the Sri Lankan bowling as India, after restricting the hosts to 262/9 in 50 overs, chased the target with 80 balls to spare.
Skipper Dhawan’s unbeaten 86 came off 95 deliveries as the Indians remained in control throughout, reaching 263 for three in 36.4 overs.
Dhawan and Shaw had set the ball rolling by raising 58 runs for the opening stand before Shaw was caught by Avishka Fernando off Dhananjaya de Silva (2/49). Dhawan continued to keep vigil at the other end as Kishan went about scoring runs and India were in cruise mode.
Earlier, India restricted the Sri Lankans to a modest 262 for nine in their allotted 50 overs thanks to some good work by Deepak Chahar (2/37), Yuzvendra Chahal (2/52) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/48).
Chamika Karunaratne was the top scorer for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 43. Many of their players got into double figures but could not post a big score.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 262/9 in 50 overs (Avishka Fernando 33, Charith Asalanka 38, Dasun Shanaka 39, Chamika Karunaratne 43 not out; Deepak Chahar 2/37, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/52, Kuldeep Yadav 2/48). India 263/3 in 36.4 overs (Prithvi Shaw 43, Shikhar Dhawan 86 not out, Ishan Kishan 59, Suryakumar Yadav 31 not out; Dhananjaya de Silva 2/49).