Sri Lanka skipper Thisara Perera won the toss and asked the hosts to bat first. A Rohit Sharma-led India were toppled for just 112 runs, setting-up a comfortable chase for the islanders.
We look at the good and bad of the first ODI as the visitors take a 1-0 lead in the series.
SURANGA LAKMAL DISMANTLES INDIA’S TOP ORDER
Making full use of the conditions on offer at the lively pitch in Dharamshala, Lakmal was on song throughout his 10-over spell.
The pacer generated generous seam movement and bowled excellent lines as he forced the Indian batsmen to play at every delivery. Such was his effectiveness that Perera asked him to bowl his 10 overs on the trot.
Lakmal removed Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey before removing Bhuvenshwar Kumar to complete a four-wicket haul. The pacer also bowled four maiden overs giving away a miserly 14 runs in his full quota of overs.
MS DHONI SAVES INDIA’S BLUSHES
At 15-5 and then subsequently 29-7, the hosts were in danger of breaking an unwanted record. They were in line to succumb to the lowest ODI total in history with Zimbabwe’s 35 runs being the previous record.
MS Dhoni though, as he has done so many times in the past, dug in with a resolute innings despite the failures of others. The veteran made full use of his experience as he shielded the tail while launching into the Sri Lankan bowlers whenever the opportunity presented itself.
The 36-year-old notched up 67th ODI fifty to give India’s innings some degree of semblance before becoming the last man to get out. If not for Dhoni, it would have been an even bleaker picture for the hosts.
INDIAN BATSMEN’S POOR TECHNIQUE AGAINST SWING AND SEAM COSTS THEM DEAR
India’s batsmen continue to make merry on the flat pitches conducive for batting in the subcontinent but have repeatedly come undone when confronted with swinging and seaming conditions.
The pitch at Dharamshala might have made for the perfect preparation for the upcoming tour of South Africa though the hosts would have preferred the surface for the recently concluded Test series.
Nevertheless, India’s top order looked in all sorts of trouble on Saturday as Lakmal and the Sri Lankans made the ball talk. No one had the technique to see the swinging ball through as the batsmen fell one after the other like a house of cards.
That they came so close to setting an unwanted record against a team on a 12-match losing streak should come as a wake-up call to Sharma and his men.
DINESH KARTHIK SETS UNWANTED RECORD
The 32-year-old Tamil Nadu batsman is looking to seal a place in India’s limited-overs setup after he was recalled after a long time in India’s ODI series against Australia.
With competition running high for the number spot and Kedhar Jadhav having to miss out of the series due to an injury, this was the perfect platform for Karthik to confirm his credentials.
However, the right-handed batsman was worked over beautifully by Lakmal as Karthik’s technique was tested to the limit. He survived dangerously for 17 deliveries before Lakmal got his reward.
Karthik departed without scoring a run and the 18 deliveries faced by him is the highest for any India batsmen who have scored a duck in ODI cricket.
Ultimately a fine fighting half-century from MS Dhoni helped the hosts prevent an utter humiliation as India ended up with 112 runs after being put into bat by Sri Lanka skipper Thisara Perera.
Here, we look at the lowest totals registered by India in their ODI history after batting first.
AGAINST BANGLADESH, MIRPUR 2014
This innings came during India’s tour of Bangladesh in 2014 as the visitors rested their big guns. Suresh Raina led the revamped Indian side in the series and his innings of 27 in the second ODI in Mirpur turned out to be more vital than he would have thought.
India were all-out for just 105 as Bangladesh pacer Taskin Ahmed picked up a five-wicket haul. Raina’s 27 would remain India’s top score. Amazingly though, the hosts ended up on the losing side as they were shot out for just 58 runs after an astonishing spell by Stuart Binny who picked up six wickets in five overs giving away only four runs.
This is the only time India have successfully defended a total less than the 112 they put up on Sunday.
AGAINST SRI LANKA, DAMBULLA 2010
This score came in a tri-series involving Sri Lanka, India and New Zealand in August, 2010. Led by MS Dhoni, India were bundled out for just 103 runs after electing to bat first at Dambulla.
Sri Lanka’s current ODI skipper Thisara Perera was the wrecker-in-chief as he tore through the Indian top order. The all-rounder picked five wickets giving away just 28 runs in a fiery spell to as Dhoni’s men were condemned to an eight-wicket defeat. Yuvraj Singh top-scored for India with 38.
AGAINST AUSTRALIA, SYDNEY 2000
This total came in another tri-nations series involving Australia, India and Pakistan. In a match against the hosts at Sydney, India skipper Sachin Tendulkar won the toss and elected to bat first. He would use that decision as legendary Aussie pacer Glenn McGrath put on an exhibition of swing and seam bowling.
McGrath picked up four wickets in 10 overs, giving away only eight runs in the process along with four maiden overs. Only Rahul Dravid crossed the 20-run mark for India with 22 runs as the visitors were handed a five-wicket defeat.
AGAINST PAKISTAN, SIALKOT 1978
India and Pakistan had not played a cricket match against each other for a 17-year-old period starting from 1961 before the historic series in the latter’s backyard in 1978. Led by spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi, India were bundled out for just 79 runs in the second ODI at Sialkot.
Only one Indian batsman crossed double figures with Mohinder Amarnath remaining unbeaten with a 34-run knock as the likes of Hasan Jamil, Sikandar Bakht and Saleem Altaf ran through the visitors’ batting line-up. The hosts would then run away with the match, galloping to a comfortable eight-wicket victory.
AGAINST AUSTRALIA, SYDNEY 1981
Sydney features once again in the list for the Indians and this embarrassing total came during the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup down under. Led by the iconic Sunil Gavaskar, India were on the receiving end of a fine bowling effort from the hosts in the ninth match of the tournament.
Greg Chappell, who would later go on to coach India, was the man-of-the-match as he finished with figures of 5-15. Gundappa Vishwanath was the highest scorer for the visitors with a 23-run knock as Australia cantered to a nine-wicket victory.
The Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) got underway on Saturday and the opening day made for some exhilarating cricket.
Sydney Sixers Women took on the Melbourne Stars Women in the opening match of the WBBL at the North Sydney Oval and records were sent tumbling down in the high scoring clash.
Led by star Australia player Ellyse Perry, the Sixers set a record total of 242-4 batting first in their 20 overs.
The 242 put on by Perry’s side is the highest ever score in the history of both the WBBL and its men’s counterpart BBL.
The previous high score in the WBBL was also set on Saturday itself in the opening match when Sydney Thunder Women put up 200 on the board against Melbourne Renegades Women.
The highest score in the BBL meanwhile is the 223 runs set by Hobart Hurricanes.
Perry herself was in smashing form on Saturday as she put up an unbeaten 91 off just 49 deliveries after opening the innings for the Sixers.
However, it was 20-year-old Ashleigh Gardner who took all the plaudits for a super maiden T20 ton. Gardner hit 10 massive sixes and nine boundaries in her 52-ball 114.
Perry and Gardner put on a 150-run stand for the second wicket with the latter doing the bulk of the scoring with 114 runs.
The former however let loose with four sixes of her own after the departure of Gardner as the Sixers ended up with 242-4.
In reply, the Melbourne Stars were restricted to 156-7 in their 20 overs to hand the Sixers a massive 86-run victory in their opening match.