After the Test defeat, Sri Lanka came back strong with an impressive 7 wicket win over India in the 1st One Day International at Dharamsala to go one-up in the three-match series.
If not for MS Dhoni’s late resurgence, the so-called strongest batting line up would have been dismissed for less than 50. Dhoni made 65 in just 87 with 10 fours and 2 sixes under his name. Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav were the only other batsman to get into double figures.
Eventually, India posted 112 in 38.2 overs at a scoring rate of 2.92. Suranga Lakmal bowled the spell of his life, rattling through the Indian top order early in the innings. Lakmal got to his career best of 4 for 13 in 10 overs.
“I think they were 29 for 7 at one stage. We thought we could bowl them out for 40 runs or so. But MS Dhoni batted beautifully. Had we dismissed him early, we could have dismissed them cheaply. You’ve got to realize that he is a world-class player. He has been in these situations before, having played over 300 ODIs. Our focus was on winning the game. So we didn’t worry about it too much after we had made a good start”, Lakmal said in an interview with Cricbuzz.
In the chase, Sri Lanka overcame a few early demons to seal the game with 7 wickets and 30 overs to spare. Upul Tharanga made 49 in 46 deliveries for the visiting side.
We have identified and narrowed down five talking points from the 1st one day international before heading into the next game in Mohali on Wednesday.
1. The Indian middle order was at Sea
Usually, when the Indian openers fail to get the side off to a good start, the middle order pounces on the opportunity to save the side from a collapse. But, this was not the case at Dharamsala as Dinesh Karthik, Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey’s techniques were rather ordinary.
They were all over the place, especially against Lakmal who kept pitching the ball in the good length area. India must replace one of the batsmen with Ajinkya Rahane who has better technique in limited overs cricket.
2. Suranga Lakmal is a serious threat on his day
Yes, the conditions were better in the first hour or two but Lakmal was right on the money with his length. He did what Jasprit Bumrah, Bhubaneswar Kumar or Nuwan Pradeep failed to do with the ball by consistently extracting purchase out of the wicket.
As Sri Lankan fans, Lakmal’s spell was an absolute treat to watch and it recalled the times when Kulasekara single-handedly destroyed batsman with unplayable swing. However, the question is if he will be able to maintain his rhythm in Mohali and Visakhapatnam.
3. Dhoni always finds a way
At 29 for 7, Sri Lanka had the chance to bowl India out for less than 40 and if not for the old dog MS Dhoni it would have been a reality. Dhoni single-handedly lifted India from embarrassment, giving the side something to bowl at. There have been many who have pounced on his slightest slip-up but this performance under pressure will silence the so-called critics.
4. Thirimanne fails (again!)
Inform batsman Dhananjaya De Silva’s illness forced Lahiru Thirimanne back to side but he failed to make the most of his opportunity playing a lose shot to a delivery outside off stump. Thirimanne’s form has declined drastically in all formats of the game.
Sri Lanka should consider replacing him with Dhananjaya De Silva or Sadeera Samarawickrama.
5. Sri Lanka, a batsman less
Yes, Sri Lanka outplayed India but when you compare the two sides, India has one extra hitter, namely Hardik Pandya whereas Sri Lanka has Thisara Perera who is comparatively weaker in terms of runs. To strengthen the batting line up, Sri Lanka could replace Sachith Pathirana with Kusal Perera. This move should only be made if Asela Gunarathne is fit to ball his cutters in the middle overs.
Sri Lanka will play India in the 2nd ODI at Mohali on Wednesday.
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