After Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan propelled India to 363/5, the hosts bowled Sri Lanka out for 194 to kick-off the ODI series with a 169-run win. Having outplayed the visitors in Cuttack, the home team now lead the five-match series 1-0. (Also Read: Stats Highlights, India vs SL, 1st ODI)
A magnificent 231-run opening stand by Rahane and Dhawan batted Sri Lanka out of the first game. Complementing each other, the pair scored a century each to put India in a commanding position after being asked to bat. While Rahane exquisitely compiled 111, Dhawan clobbered the bowlers en route to 113 to help the team to a mammoth total. (Also Read: Shikhar Dhawan relishes the Virender Sehwag role)
The Indian openers got off to a quiet start with Dhammika Prasad and debutant Lahiru Gamage bowling tight spells with the new ball and asking questions of Rahane and Dhawan.
With Kumar Sangakkara failing to hold on to the ball, Dhawan who had reached out to the Prasad delivery survived on 10 and went on to cash on to the life given to him. And so did his opening partner who was given a second chance while on 38. In India's fourth opening stand in excess of 200 runs the pair set the stage for an Indian victory.
Having bided their time to garner 43 runs in the first powerplay the openers settled into a steady rhythm to take India to a dominating position.
Although he survived a tough chance, Rahane looked in good nick as he gleaned runs off the opposition. The young opener brought up his second consecutive fifty with a single on the leg-side off Suraj Randiv. And Dhawan followed him to the mark with boundaries of successive balls followed by a six over long-on off the bowler later in the over. The duo took charge of the innings as they claimed 17 runs off the over to reach their half-centuries and take India past 100.
With the openers in sublime touch, India took the batting powerplay as early as the 24th over to build on the advantage. Taking the attack to the bowlers the openers collected 62 runs from it. Gamage brought back into the attack was struck for two boundaries by Rahane on either side of the wicket and was sent down fine-leg for four more by Dhawan as they picked 15 runs from his over. The openers continued their onslaught against Randiv in the next over with Dhawan lofting him over mid on for six to collect 12 from the over.
Rahane then smashed Perera through mid-off for four and sent the next delivery past fine-leg to add four more off Prasad who had changed ends. He was soon scoring at run-a-ball after hitting Angelo Mathews for a boundary through the off side and smacked a six over long-on as they collected 18 runs from the last over of the powerplay.
In an effort to plug the flow of runs and end the partnership, Mathews introduced the experienced Tillakratane Dilshan into the attack but to no avail as the batsmen inched towards their respective tons. Runs were coming thick and fast as Rahane brought up his second ODI century with a single off Dilshan. In the following over, Dhawan too reached his hundred with a six over mid-wicket off Prasanna.
The eighth bowling option used by the SL captain finally ended India's opening stand of 231 with the wicket of Dhawan. The left-hand opener was castled while looking to sweep Ashan Priyanjan.
Suresh Raina playing his 200th ODI came in to bat at No 3 and build on the solid start. 16 runs later Rahane hit Randiv to Mahela Jayawardene at mid-off and returned for 111. With his side comfortably placed on 247/2 Captain Virat Kohli joined Raina in the middle.
In a 34-ball 52-run cameo, Raina went past the 5000-run mark in ODIs before he was sent back by Randiv. In his next over, the off-spinner accounted for Kohli. With Perera taking the catch near backward square-leg boundary, Kohli returned for 22.
With four overs left, Ambati Rayudu swung his willow to add 30 for the fifth wicket stand before departing for 27. Axar Patel who replaced him slammed Prasad for two successive sixes after taking strike in the last over as he took India to 363/5 with Wriddhiman Saha.
Umesh Yadav then gave India their first wicket. The pacer induced an edge off Dilshan to send back the opener with 31 on the board. 30 runs later, Ishant Sharma claimed the prized scalp of Sangakkara. The experienced campaigner was replaced by another veteran batsman, Jayawardene in the middle as SL faced the mountainous ask.
Tharanga was the next to depart taking the aerial route against Ravichandran Ashwin to leave the visitors on 84/3. A while later, Patel accounted for Seekkuge Prasanna as India tightened the noose around SL.
Jayawardene, who had continued to garner runs with his silken touch was joined by Mathews. But with the team on 130 the senior batsman looking to drive Patel handed a simple catch to Kohli.
Although India were a bowler short with Varun Aaron leaving the field mid-over early in the innings, the rest of the attack had kept up the pressure as India defended the pile of runs. And while Raina followed up with the wicket of Mathews, couple of overs later Ishant had Priyanjan edge to the wicketkeeper.
The tall Indian pacer then disrupted Randiv's woodwork and three balls later removed Prasad for naught to claim his fourth wicket in a wicket-maiden. Perera who had continued to extend the innings was caught at long on 19 runs later by Ishant off Yadav to bring curtains down on the Sri Lankan innings.
India wins by 169 runs
India 363 for 5 (Dhawan 113, Rahane 111) beat Sri Lanka 194 (Jayawardene 43, Ishant 4-34) by 169 runs
Man of the Match: Ajinkya Rahane for his match-winning 108-ball 111.
Angelo Mathews: Playing in India is always tough. We had to prepare as much as we could in the last seven days. It's a learning curve or the bowlers. It's an opportunity for all those who played today because there's not much experience in the camp. We let the batsmen off the hook after 10 overs. Rahane and Dhawan batted beautifully. Those two catches were crucial and Gamage looks like an exciting prospect.
Virat Kohli: Taking the responsibility of leading a young side, I like it and it excites me, especially with the World Cup coming up. Taking the Powerplay early worked well today. I bounced the idea off Duncan when I was sitting next to him because both batsmen were well set. Aaron struggled after the fourth over and I don't know the extent of his injury. I didn't want to take a chance and asked him to rest. Great to see some pace unleashed by India and it will be helpful in Australia. Great to see them hitting the line and lengths and bowl according to the field placements.
Ajinkya Rahane: Both my hundreds are equally important. The first 10 overs were slightly challenging but later on it got really easy for us. Shikhar and I really enjoyed batting in the middle. The team asked me to open so I was happy to open. I'm just thinking of this series right now. We've started really well and will take one game at a time.