New Delhi: Sri Lanka defeated India by seven wickets in the first One-Day International (ODI) at HPCA in Dharamshala. With this win, Sri Lanka take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and also register their first win after 12 consecutive defeats. Chasing a paltry target of 113, the visitors after initial hiccup reached the target in 20.4 overs.
In response to India’s 112, Sri Lanka lost two wickets early. Jasprit Bumrah had opener Danushka Gunathilaka (1) caught behind in the fourth over and then few overs later Lahiru Thirimanne (0) fell to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. At that point, Sri Lanka were 19 for two. In between these two wickets, Upul Tharanga survived after being caught off Bumrah’s no-ball.
With two wickets down early, Tharanga and Mathews then added a 46-run partnership for the third wicket to bail Sri Lanka out of the trouble. In the process, Tharanga did the bulk of the scoring while Mathews was happy to play second fiddle.
It was then in the 13th over when Hardik Pandya removed Tharanga. The left-hander fell one run short of his half-century as he scored 49 off 46 balls. His knock included 10 fours.
Mathews (25*) and Niroshan Dickwella (26*) then shared an unbeaten 48-run partnership for the fourth wicket to take Sri Lanka home.
Earlier, Mahendra Singh Dhoni blasted 65 off 87 balls to single-handedly take India to 112 after the hosts suffered a dramatic batting collapse. Put into bat, Indian batsmen looked clueless as the pace troika of Suranga Lakmal (4/13), Nuwan Pradeep (2/37) and Angelo Mathews (1/8) stifled the hosts with a fine display of swing bowling under seaming conditions.
The half of the Indian batting line-up was gone for just 16 runs and at one stage, there was a possibility of the hosts being dismissed less than their lowest-ever ODI score of 54, but Dhoni showed his class once again and take the score past the 100-run mark.
Left tottering at 29 for seven, Dhoni and Kuldeep Yadav (19) stitched 41 runs in 47 balls for the eighth wicket to resurrect the Indian innings. Dhoni clobbered 10 boundaries and two sixes in his crucial knock even as only two other Indian batsmen — Hardik Pandya (10) and Yadav — could reach double-digit figures.
Lakmal, who completed his quota of 10 overs in a single spell, emerged as the wrecker-in-chief for Sri Lanka, returning with impressive figures of 10-4-13-4.
Indian’s poor batting technique in seaming conditions came to the fore once again as Lakmal exploited the early testing conditions to the full. Such was the dominance of the Lankan seamers that India scored 11 for 3 in the powerplay overs, the lowest 10-over score in an ODI in the last five years, and second-lowest overall and it would be a timely reminder for the hosts who would be playing in seaming pitches when they tour South Africa next month.
(With PTI inputs)