The start to the ODI series was quite opposite to that of the Test series. Sri Lanka had struggled to make double figures before losing a wicket in the Tests and here, they made 74 before they lost one. But unfortunately for them, the ending was eerily similar to the Tests, with Shikhar Dhawan continuing his ominous touch with the willow.
Opting to bowl first, India struggled to find early breakthroughs before Chahal created an opening from one end. Dickwella and Mendis fought it out before Kedar Jadhav's magic arms rewarded India with a much needed wicket. There was no stopping India from then on as Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal all chipped in with vital wickets to close the hosts' innings at 216.
In reply, India lost Rohit Sharma to a run-out but Dhawan was in no mood to let the game slip and thundered his way to a magnificent hundred, his third of the tour. Virat Kohli, unusually quiet in the Tests, compiled an unbeaten 82 as India romped home by nine wickets.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 216 (Dickwella 64, Axar 3/34) lost to India 220/1 (Dhawan 132*, Kohli 82*)
Do not miss the talking points from the first ODI of the five match series.
#5 Sri Lanka's promising opening stand
After a dour Test series, Sri Lanka needed some early momentum in the shorter formats and Niroshan Dickwella provided them with that, starting off in blistering fashion in the company of Danushka Gunathilaka. He played second-fiddle to Gunathilaka at first and showed controlled aggression, something which he isn't known for in his short career thus far.
The duo compiled 74 in 14 overs before Gunathilaka played a forgettable shot off Yuzvendra Chahal. Dickwella, on the other hand, looked more determined to make his opportunity at the top count and played some sublime shots enroute a fine half-century. He went on to smash Kedar Jadhav for three fours in five balls he faced from the part-timer before he was dismissed off the sixth.
#4 Kedar Jadhav's golden run with the ball continues
Kedar Jadhav is quickly turning into more than a part-time bowler for India in ODIs. A role that once Yuvraj Singh did to perfection has now been passed on to this slingish round-arm off-spinner. Such has been Jadhav's impact with the ball in the past few months that his wicket-keeping skills are no longer talked about.
Jadhav once again delivered for India at Dambulla breaking a vital 65-run partnership between Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis. His skiddy deliveries turned out to be a menace and Dickwella, who had smashed three fours off him, was eventually trapped in front by him. He then got another freebie wicket, with Tharanga slogging a high full toss straight down long-on's throat.
#3 The Axar factor
In a way, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja operate in similar fashion. Both of them are accurate, bowl tidy, quick spells and force mistakes from the batsmen. But what sets Axar Patel apart is his clever variations in pace.
Jadeja does get his pace variations right but Axar's perfect show, as opposed to Jadeja's lacklustre one-dimensional bowling in the Champions Trophy, was a welcome change.
The Kings XI Punjab spinner was right on the money from ball one and the manner in which he cleaned up Kusal Mendis with a skiddy, 104kmph delivery deserved appreciation. Perhaps it was his impeccable lines that forced Hasaranga to slog wildly and Sandakan to defend blindly. The spinner ended with figures of 3/34 in his 10 overs and has surely pushed his case home.
#2 Kohli gets into the act
Perhaps he was confident that the others could east past the Lankans in the Tests. Or perhaps he was giving a chance for the others to hog the limelight. But ODIs are his ball game and Kohli is at his authoritative best in this format. If Lanka had knocked him over for a duck the last time these two teams met, he avenged the dismissal shot after shot.
The manner in which he paces his innings is something which has long been talked about. He emboldened it and then put an underline beneath it tonight with his perfectly timed knock and even better timed shots.
While Dhawan was all over the host's bowling attack, Kohli resorted to milking the bowlers while stealing the odd boundary on offer. As India chased down the target in no time, Kohli deserves appreciation for playing a shadow role to Shikhar Dhawan and finishing on an unbeaten 82.
#1 Shikhar Dhawan torments Sri Lanka
Shikhar Dhawan has seemingly arrived in Sri Lanka as a man in a mission. He accomplished most of his goals in the Test series finishing as the highest run-scorer with two hundreds and an average almost touching 90. But he has gotten greedy and started the ODI series with a typical 'Gabbar-style' hundred, coming off 71 balls.
He was blistering right from the onset, and dug into the Sri Lankan bowlers with disdain. There was the sweep, drive, cut, straight drive, slash, pull, reverse sweep, lofted drive and every other shot in the textbook of cricket and even some outside it. By the end of Sri Lanka's misery, Dhawan had 132 to his name, more than half of India's score.