Dharamsala: It certainly was a win to remember for a long time for Sri Lanka as they not only ended their eight-year win drought against the Men in Blue in India but also put an end to their 12-match losing streak in ODIs. For record, the visitors annihilated the hosts by 7 wickets in the first of three-match series at Dharamsala on Sunday.
Though the match was almost over for the hosts in the first innings after their dismal show with the bat but their pacers picked three quick wickets to revive some hopes for the fans. However, in the end the quick wickets didn’t help much as experienced Angelo Mathews, opener Upul Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella helped the visitors to romp home with seven wickets to spare.
When Thisara Perera won the toss, he had no doubt in putting India into bat. Led by Rohit Sharma and without the talismanic Virat Kohli in the ranks, the Men in Blue were not expected to capitulate. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit, Dinesh Karthik at the top of the order are experienced heads, but that was not enough to bail them out. Suranga Lakmal was the wrecker-in-chief for the Lankans as along with Angelo Mathews for company, the duo broke the very backbone of the Indian batting.
Former captain MS Dhoni watched on bewildered from the other end. India were reeling at 29/7 and staring at possibly registering the lowest total by a team in ODI cricket — 35 by Zimbabwe against Sri Lanka. Dhoni had Kuldeep Yadav for company, and the spinner who has good memories on this ground, dug in to finally steady the ship. Together the two put on a 41 for the 8th wicket, before Kuldeep got a taste of his own medicine. Akila Dananjaya spun a web around him and Niroshan Dickwella was quick to stump him for 19.
Neither Jasprit Bumrah nor Yuzvendra Chahal opened their accounts as Dhoni decided to take care of upping the ante. A few calculated moves and big shots later Dhoni completed his 67th half century but could not power on beyond 65 as India were skittled out for 112.