DHARAMSALA — Sri Lanka beat India by seven wickets in the first one day international Dec. 10 to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Earlier, Suranga Lakmal picked up a career-best 4-13 as India was bowled out for 112 runs in 38.2 overs.
Chasing 113, the visitors rode Upul Tharanga’s 49 runs to scale the target in 20.4 overs to secure the one-sided victory.
Defending the lowly total, India started well as Jasprit Bumrah (1-32) had opener Danushka Gunathilaka (1) caught behind.
A short time later, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-42) bowled Lahiru Thirimanne for a three-ball duck as Sri Lanka was reduced to 19-2.
Bumrah also had Tharanga caught at gully in the sixth over, but his delivery was deemed a no ball. The batsman then stabilized Sri Lanka’s innings and put on 46 runs with Angelo Mathews (25 not out).
Hardik Pandya (1-39) was taken for runs but he managed to get Tharanga caught behind.
Thereafter, Mathews added 49 runs for the fourth wicket with Niroshan Dickwella (26 not out) and took Sri Lanka home.
“We need to give 200 percent credit to our bowlers. They bowled very well. This was an unplayable wicket and we didn’t expect it to be so. Lakmal is our No. 1 bowler. He did well in the test series for us too,” said Thisara Perera, the Sri Lanka skipper, after the win.
India started the match on the back foot and at one point was reduced to 29-7.
MS Dhoni scored 65 runs as he salvaged some pride for the hosts. Even so, this was India’s lowest ODI total at home since 1993 when they were bowled out for 100 by the West Indies at Ahmedabad.
“We were not up to the mark today. There weren’t enough runs on the board. If we had another 70-80 runs, we could have made a game out of it. But we will not get flat wickets every day and this will be a learning curve for us. We have to look forward to the two remaining matches,” said Rohit Sharma, India’s stand-in skipper, after the loss.
Put into bat, India started poorly as both openers were dismissed with the scoreboard on 2-2. Angelo Mathews (1-8) trapped Shikhar Dhawan (0) lbw, while Rohit Sharma (2) was caught behind off Lakmal.
Lakmal was nearly unplayable as the Indian top order struggled. Dinesh Karthik was out lbw for an 18-ball duck and Manish Pandey (2) was caught at slip.
Nuwan Pradeep (2-37) got into the act as debutant Shreyas Iyer (9) played on. Afterwards, Hardik Pandya (10) edged him to slip with India toiling at 28-6.
Lakmal bowled ten overs on the bounce and picked up Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0). He improved on his previous best of 4-30 against England at Pallekele in 2014.
Dhoni then came to India’s rescue and scored his 67th ODI half-century off 78 balls. He anchored the innings with a 41-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Kuldeep Yadav (19).
Then he added another 17 runs with Jasprit Bumrah (0) and 15 with Yuzvendra Chahal (0 not out), pushing India past an unlikely 100 in the 37th over.
Two overs later, Dhoni was last man out, caught at deep cover off Thisara Perera (1-29). Overall, he faced 87 balls and hit 10 fours along with two sixes.
The second ODI is scheduled for Mohali Dec. 13.