India overwhelm woeful Sri Lanka in series opener at Dambulla

Opener Shikhar Dhawan struck a brutal century as India beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets in the first of five-match ODI series in Dambulla on Sunday.

The visiting side’s captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to field first, and his decision proved a correct one as hosts were bundled out for just 216 inside 44 overs.At one stage, the Islanders were looking for a score in excess of 300 with opener Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis added 65 runs for the second wicket after 74-run opening partnership.

However, India’s spin trio of Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav and Axar Patel claimed seven wickets and just gave away 120 runs in 25 overs as Upul Tharanga’s men lost their last nine wickets for just 77 runs.Dickwella finished the innings with the top score of 64 off 74 balls, which included eight boundaries, whereas Mendis and all-rounder Angelo Mathews made valuable contributions of 36 runs each.

For India, Patel was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed three wickets, whereas Chahal, Jadhav and pacer Jasprit Bumrah picked two wickets each.

Chasing 217 to open their account in the series, visitors were in no mood to let Sri Lanka get away with anything and achieved the target in the 29th over.Dhawan continued his brilliant form and scored a breathtaking unbeaten 132 off just 90 balls with help of 20 glorious boundaries and three massive sixes, whereas captain Kohli remained not out on 82 off 70 balls with the help of 10 fours and one six.

For Sri Lanka, no bowler could pick up a single wicket, whereas apart from Mathews, each bowler went for over 6.5 runs per over.For his outstanding batting performance, Dhawan was awarded man of the match.

Both teams will now travel to Pallekele, where the second ODI will be played on August 24.

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