DHARAMSALA: Sri Lankan bowlers pierced through the Indian batting order, that is without Virat Kohli for this tour, to shoot them down for a 112 runs and later their top order held its own to chase a slim total with in the first 21 overs to go 1-0 up in a three match ODI series.
For India, it could have been a lot worse had Dhoni not shepherded the tail and made an attacking 65 runs as India were 29/7 at one with in the first 20 overs of the match.
On a wicket that offered early assistance to fast bowlers and considering Sri Lanka’s low confidence coming in to the ODI series, it still can be anybody’s game. Lakmal was the pick of the bowlers who took four top order wickets to leave India reeling on a pitch that offered seam and bounce to the pacers.
Surprisingly, Sri Lanka started with the experienced all-rounder and former captain Angelo Mathews alongside Lakmal. The move paid dividends as Mathews struck in hi first over nailing Shikar Dhawan infront of the stumps with a ball that swung in late. This was just a start to an Indian slide, as Lakmal came into his groove and took the edge of Rohit Sharma – the stand-in captain for this game – and India were two down inside five overs.
Pradeep then joined the fun by picking up two wickets to give support to Lakmal who bowled unchanged for his quota of 10 overs. Akila Dananjaya was too hot to handle for Kuldeep Yadav who gave a helping hand to a resurrect the India from the turmoil. Dhoni, who was criticized for his slow strike rate in the T20 format, remained India’s final hope in posting a defend able total. However, while he almost ran out of partners at the end, he had to take risks to keep the scorecard ticking over. In the end, he took a risk too many and fell well short of dragging India beyond 150.