India proved to be too strong for Sri Lanka as they won the first T20I match comprehensively by 38 runs at R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
The visitors took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series having defended their score of 164/5 by bundling out Sri Lanka for 126.
Earlier, after being asked to bat, India lost debutant Prithvi Shaw in the very first ball with Dushmantha Chameera bowling a perfect outswinger to get the outside edge.
Skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Sanju Samson added 51 runs for the 2nd wicket before the latter was trapped plumb in front by Wanindu Hasaranga in the first ball after the powerplay ended.
After the loss of Samson, Dhawan was joined by Suryakumar Yadav and the pair bossed the middle overs adding 62 runs for the third wicket.
Dhawan was dismissed by debutant Chamika Karunaratne for 46 off 34 balls with 4 fours and 1 six. Yadav, batting at number four, played some beautiful strokes to reach his half-century in 33 balls. He reached the milestone with a six off Hasaranga, however the Lankan leg-spinner outsmarted him in the very next ball, with a much a slower delivery and the Indian right-hander was caught in the deep.
Chameera came back to the attack in the death overs and bowled well to restrict the Indians with an array of slower deliveries. He picked up the wicket of Hardik Pandya as well in the 19th over.
Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasarang were the best bowlers for the hosts, both completing their quota of overs, picking up 2 wickets each for 24 and 28 runs respectively. Off-spinner Akila Dananjaya proved to be very costly for Sri Lanka as he was carted around for 40 runs off his 3 overs.
Chasing 165 runs to win, Avishka Fernando got Sri Lanka off to a decent start despite losing his partner Minod Bhanuka early for 10 off Krunal Pandya. After being 46 for 1 at the end of the powerplay, Sri Lanka lost their way in the middle overs.
Dhananjaya De Silva continued his poor run of form after he was bamboozled by Yuzvendra Chahal in the first over after powerplay. Fernando, who made 26 off 23 balls, fell in the next over to put Sri Lanka in a spot of bother at 50 for 3.
Charith Asalanka, playing his maiden T20I match, batted with great authority to be the top scorer for Sri Lanka, he scored a few lusty blows against the Indian spinners. He made 44 off 26 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes. However, number five batsman, Ashen Bandara, was a complete failure, scoring only 9 runs off 19 balls to push the required run-rate over 10. Despite Bandara showing incompetence against spin, left-handed Asalanka continued to bat well as the pair added 40 runs for the 4th wicket.
After Bandara was dismissed in the 13th over, Sri Lanka was still in the hunt. However, fast bowler Deepak Chahar turned the game around in the 16th over, dismissing the well-set Charith Asalanka and Wanindu Hasaranga in the same over.
With the required run-rate getting higher and higher, the lower middle order batsmen, Dasun Shanaka, Chamika Karunaratne and Isuru Udana failed to up the scoring rate against top notch death bowling by the Indians. Sri Lanka lost their last 6 wickets for 15 runs as India wrapped up the match with 9 balls to spare.
The second ODI match will be played on the 27th, followed by the third and final match on the 29th of July at the same venue.
India – 164/5 (20): Shikhar Dhawan 46, Sanju Samson 27, Suryakumar Yadav 50, Dushmantha Chameera 2/24, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/28.
Sri Lanka – 126 (18.3): Avishka Fernando 26, Charith Asalanka 44, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4/22, Deepak Chahar 2/24