You can only marvel at the next generation of Indian players as an outstanding batting display made Sri Lanka eat humble pie in the first ODI at RPS as the hosts succumbed to a seven wicket defeat yesterday. A spirited effort by the tail had enabled Sri Lanka to post a target of 263 but to test these Indians you need something more than 300. Yesterday’s run chase was child’s play for the tourists, who reached the target with more than 12 overs to spare.
You expected Shikhar Dhawan to take the attack onto the opposition but while he played the anchor role, it was the young guns who carted the bowlers to all corners of Maligawatta. They reached 200 runs in the 28th over and in this series, if India ever bat first; they could go onto break the 400 run barrier.
Prithiv Shaw is 21 while Ishan Kishan is 23 and they seemed to be in a different league altogether. Constant exposure at IPL, rubbing shoulders with big international stars, has stood them in good stead as they threw caution to the wind playing an entertaining brand of cricket.
Shaw and Dhawan added 58 runs for the first wicket in just 33 balls with the former smashing 43 in 24 balls. When part-time Dhananjaya de Silva broke the stand, Ishan Kishan making his debut walked in. There is no getting yourself in and all that theory with him as he lofted the first ball he faced for six and smashed the next ball for four. Kishan is looking to score a boundary every ball.
Kishan raced to his half-century in 33 balls and what better way to celebrate your 23rd birthday. India have built up such solid bench strength that they will be virtually tough to beat during the 2023 World Cup which they will host.
Dhawan and Manish Pandey then added 72 runs for the third wicket consolidating India’s position further. Dhawan finished on 86 not out.
Sri Lanka’s innings was hopeless as not a single batsman managed a half-century. Indian bowling is not as formidable as their batting. That sums up how fragile the Sri Lankan batting is. The top score of 43 not out came from Chamika Karunaratne, who was batting at number eight.
There were several top order batsmen who got starts but none were able to consolidate as the old problems resurfaced. Sri Lanka’s strategies and selections continue to bewilder their supporters with too many players meant for T-20 occupying slots in the ODI team.
During the ODIs in England, batting was a huge let down and unless they play six genuine batsmen, it’s going to be a struggle for them.
Such was Sri Lanka’s plight that they could not get their field placing right and were penalized with a free hit in the 29th over for having too many fielders outside the 30 yard circle.
This was a no contest and a 6-0 drubbing looks on the cards.