Shikhar Dhawan’s blazing century and a disciplined effort by the spinners powered India to a nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first one-day international on Sunday.
Chasing a modest 217 for victory, India rode on an unbeaten 197-run stand between Dhawan, who smashed 132, and skipper Virat Kohli, who made 82, to canter home in 28.5 overs.
The left-handed Dhawan hit the winning runs off a boundary and later received the man of the match award for his 90-ball blitz in Dambulla.
But it was the spinners, led by Axar Patel, who set up the opening win for the visitors in the five-match series after bowling out Sri Lanka for 216 in 43.2 overs.
India, who last week achieved their first clean sweep in an overseas three-Test series, lost an early wicket after Rohit Sharma was run out for four.
The partnership between Dhawan, who hit his 11th ODI century, and Kohli made sure India had no more hiccups in their road to victory.
“We really enjoyed batting together, me and Shikhar… The good thing is that he is cashing in on his good form,” Kohli said of his swashbuckling opener.
“He is in a good state of mind and we make sure we do everything to keep him in that zone because he is a match winner. When he plays like that he will win you games of cricket and that’s why we back him so much,” added Kohli.
Dhawan was in marauding form, hitting 20 fours and 3 sixes, but Kohli also attacked the opposition during his 70-ball stay at the crease.
New limited-overs captain Upul Tharanga rotated his bowling options at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium but failed to stop the onslaught.
It was a forgettable 200th ODI for veteran paceman Lasith Malinga, who was not only stuck on 298 wickets but was carted for 52 runs in his eight overs.