Cuttak: India won over Sri lanka by a massive 169 runs in first ODI. A good start from the Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane resulted India to get a mammoth score of 363-5 in a 50 overs. They both scored hundred, with a double-century stand. Suresh Raina also joined them and scored a fifty aggressively in his 200th ODI and became 11th Indian batsman to cross 5000 runs mark. Indian bowler backed up batting performance by bowling in good areas and taking wicket at regular intervals, they bowled out Sri Lanka on 194 runs in 39.2 overs. With career-best performance of 4/34, Ishant Sharma was the key bowler to stop Sri Lankan players.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bowl first. Initially, their decision looked right as Indian openers were only able to score 43/0 till the power-play. However, these few runs without any loss of wicket helped them to strengthen India’s start. Both the openers Shikhar and Rahane started scoring at a slow rate in first 20 overs with ten boundaries. Rahane completed his 8th ODI fifty in 20.2 overs with a single on square leg. Shikhar Dhawan was far behind, he also scored his 10 ODI fifty in the same over with an enormous six over log on. After scoring half-century both the players slowly opened their shoulders, kept their feet on the ground and managed to score 195 runs, not out in 30 overs, with beautiful display of shots all over the ground.
In 32nd overs, India completed its 200 runs and Rahane also finished his second ODI hundred in 99 balls with single by pushing the ball to long on of the field. In next overs, Shikhar also completed his sixth ODI hundred in a style as he heaved the ball powerfully over the mid-wicket for a six followed by a dance on the ground. In the last bowl of 34th over, Priyanjan stopped Dhawan’s innings at 113 runs in 107 balls, and Sri Lanka succeeded to have their first breakthrough. He tried to sweep out the ball, but he missed the length of the ball and the ball rolled away to the stumps. Kohli promoted Raina to the 3rd position to give him a chance to score quick runs in this situation. S. Randiv bowled out Rahane at 111 runs in 108 balls in the 38th over. Rahane was a lot disappointed with his soft dismissal. Indian skipper Kohli came on the ground and continued with Raina. They both kept the scoreboard ticking and took India to 255 runs in 40 overs. They kept their patience to keep wickets in hand for last ten overs. However, Raina got bowled out in the next delivery after scoring his 32nd ODI fifty with a massive six. He missed the ball in playing sweep and got out in 44th over of S. Randiv. After that, India managed to score 363-5 runs with the efforts of Indian Skipper Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, Wicket-Keeper Wriddhiman Saha and Akshar Patel. India hit 37 boundaries and ten sixes in their innings. The first Wicket Partnership done by Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane of 231 runs lead India to a huge score.
Sri Lanka needed 364 runs in 50 overs that was a big score to chase looking at the match forecast, slowness of the pitch and history of the ground. Srilanka also started scoring at slow rate as India did previously, but they did not managed to keep their wickets in hand and lost their wickets at regular intervals. Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan opened for Sri Lanka, and Umesh Yadav came to bowl the first over. India kept Sri Lankan players quiet in the first 10 overs and enjoyed the wicket of Dilshan in 9th over. Sri Lanka scored 107 runs in first 20 overs meanwhile lost three valuable wickets of both the openers Dilshan and Upul Tharanga along with Sangakkara. Sri Lankan players did not show their dedication to achieve the Everest-like target and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. India bowled well and kept Sri Lanka in pressure until the end of the innings. All the Sri Lankan players were bowled out at 194 runs in 39.2 overs. Only Mahela Jayawardene scored 43 runs that was the highest score in Sri Lankan scorecard. Sri Lanka hit 22 boundaries including one six. At the end India managed to defeat the visitors by a massive 169 runs margin in the first ODI. Ishant Sharma played an important role in Sri Lanka’s defeat as he took four wickets of Kumar Sangakkara, A Priyanjan, S Randiv and D Prasad with a good run rate of 4.25. All other Indian Bowlers also bowled well with Ishant and took wickets regularly that is also a good sign for the future of Indian cricket.
Rahane became the Man of the Match for his 108 runs in 111 balls. Rahane Said in post-match ceremony on his performance, “Both the centuries are equally important, but I enjoyed batting with Shikhar (Dhawan) in the middle (when asked to evaluate his century in Birmingham with the one here in Cuttack). The team management asked me to open, and I accepted it in a positive way. I am looking to improve my batting. We just want to take it one game at a time and play our natural game”.
Indian Skipper Virat Kohli was happy for his team’s performance and expressed his happiness in the post-match ceremony, “I like it. I like taking the responsibility. It excites me leading a young side. All these guys are geared up. I am proud of the intensity on the field. I was sitting next to Duncan (Fletcher) and bounced it off to him (when enquired about taking the batting powerplay early). Both of them (Dhawan and Rahane) were well set and I thought it was a good tactical change and it actually worked for us today. It (the injury to Aaron) was pretty bad. I did not want to push him. I still don’t know the extent of the injury. Great to see the guys hit the proper line and lengths. All in all, it was a perfect performance from us.”
Sri Lankan Captain Angelo Mathews showed his disappointed and said, “Playing in India is always going to be tough. It is a learning curve, especially for the bowlers. It is an excellent opportunity for all the guys. We did not have much experience. The bowlers did well in the first ten overs but let them off the hook later on. Ajinkya (Rahane) and Shikhar (Dhawan) were brilliant. Gamage looks an exciting prospect.”
India played well in first ODI and took 1-0 lead in five-match ODI series. They performed exceptionally well in all the three departments including bowling and feilding. Sri Lanka will have to work hard and lift their game up in all the departments for next matches to win the series.