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02 November 201421:14 By Roshan Thyagarajan

Dominant win for all-round India

Dhawan, Rahane slam tons before Ishant sends Sri Lanka plummeting to 169-run loss

Dominant win for all-round India - Cricket News

Ishant Sharma returned career-best ODI figures of 4 for 34 from 8 overs.

Since the hastily arranged tour of India, Sri Lanka’s players have been vocal about their lack of preparedness for this five-match One-Day International series, and how it could mar its preparations for the upcoming England series and the World Cup.

Its lack of cricketing preparedness was obvious during its 88-run loss to India A in a practice game in Mumbai.

Sri Lanka’s chinks were further emphatically exposed during a 169-run loss in the first ODI at the Barabati Stadium on Sunday evening (November 2).

Set a daunting target of 364 after Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane toyed with its bowling unit to set the base for India’s 363 for 5, Sri Lanka's batting line-up had no answers against a clinical Indian bowling unit. Ishant Sharma was the wrecker-in-chief with a four-wicket haul that helped India bowl Sri Lanka out for 194, the home side taking a 1-0 lead with four to play.

Barring Mahela Jayawardene’s visually appealing 43, there was little of substance from the Sri Lanka batting. It was perhaps the pressure of the gigantic chase that made the players attempt unnecessary shots.

India had Dhawan and Rahane to thank for creating that situation. Dhawan made a sturdy 113 from 107 balls and Rahane belted 111 from 108 as the duo added 231 for the opening wicket, setting the foundation for the daunting total on being put in by Angelo Mathews.

The partnership, which equalled the ninth highest opening-wicket partnership (set by Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan in 2011) saw the duo become the first Indian opening pair since Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar in 2003 to notch up a century in the same innings. Suresh Raina’s 34-ball 52 on his 200th ODI appearance added meat to an already impressive tally.

At the start, though, Sri Lanka would have fancied keeping India down to a total of manageable proportions. With the ball darting around, they conceded a mere 43 runs from the mandatory Power Play period and only 47 more in the next ten. Rahane and Dhawan were troubled by movement off the pitch and chose to play that phase out with caution.

Dhawan was uncomfortable against the debutant seamer, Lahiru Gamage, and ended up edging one to Kumar Sangakkara, the wicketkeeper, in the 7th over. Sangakkara, diving full length to his left, was a picture of disappointment as the ball popped out of his gloves. Dhawan was on seven then.

Sangakkara’s day with the gloves was about to get worse as he grassed a tough chance from Rahane when the batsman was on 38. Making the most of their slices of luck, Rahane and Dhawan went on a blitz.

Having put on only 90 from 20 overs, they stepped on the accelerator to make 100 runs from the next ten. India took the Batting Power Play in the 24th over, a move that paid handsome dividends as Dhawan and Rahane amassed 62 runs during that phase and brought up their respective half-centuries.

The last time an Indian opening pair had sent them to the cleaners like this was when Saurav Ganguly and Tendulkar teamed up to add 252 in Colombo in 1998.

Oblivious to the records that tumbled, Rahane and Dhawan brought up their centuries in contrasting fashion. Rahane moved from 99 to his second ODI hundred with a delicate push to long-on. Dhawan opted to take the aerial route instead as he bludgeoned Seekkuge Prasanna for a huge six over mid-wicket to register his sixth century. Coincidentally, Dhawan had brought up his half-century with a six off Suraj Randiv.

Almost immediately, Dhawan was sent back to the pavilion as a delivery from Ashan Priyanjan ricocheted off his foot and gently disturbed the stumps. Raina was promoted to No. 3, and the left-hand batsman duly cashed in. He got into the act straightaway as he smashed four boundaries and three sixes en route to his third consecutive half-century.

Rahane’s meek dismissal in the 38th over to Randiv did little to halt India’s march as Raina and Virat Kohli, the stand-in skipper for the rested MS Dhoni, added 52 runs for the third wicket in no time.

Raina and Kohli fell within two overs of each other but Ambati Rayudu’s 20-ball 27 and Axar Patel’s 9-ball 13 ensured that India’s total would be worthy of the stellar opening partnership.

Sri Lanka’s start to the chase was as cautious as its opponents. Tharanga and Dilshan were pegged back by the fiery fast-bowling duo of Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron. Yadav was eventually rewarded for his consistency with the wicket of Dilshan but Aaron, who was wayward in line and length, left the field after pulling a muscle in his fifth over, leaving a question mark over his availability for the rest of the series.

Ishant, playing his first ODI since January, earned Sangakkara’s scalp with a beautiful delivery that the left-hand batsman could do little about. Mohammed Shami, the regular seamer, was left out of the game, as were Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra.

Kohli brought on the spinners in the 15th over with R Ashwin and Patel operating in tandem. Within no time, they accounted for three wickets, including the prized one of Jayawardene, who drove a flighted Patel ball to Kohli at short cover.

With five of its top batsmen back in the hut for 130, Sri Lanka had little hope. It did, however, give the Indian bowlers a chance to improve their statistics.

Ishant returned career-best ODI figures of 4 for 34 from 8 overs.

To see the scorecard and review the India v Sri Lanka match in full, please click here.