India captain Shikhar Dhawan on Sunday said he thoroughly enjoyed watching from the non-striker’s end his younger partners toying with the Sri Lankan bowlers in the first ODI here, saying they “finished the game” in the first 15 overs only. India mauled the hosts by seven wickets with plenty of overs to spare to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Absolutely, all our boys, most of them have played earlier and they are very matured and aggressive as well. The way they played the game today was tremendous. And I was very happy with their efforts,” Dhawan said at the post-match presentation. Opting to bat, Sri Lanka were restricted to 262 for nine, with pacer Deepak Chahar (2/37), and spinners Kuldeep Yadav (2/48) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2/52) picking two wickets each.
India overhauled the target in 36.4 overs as they rode on Dhawan’s unbeaten 86, debutant Ishan Kishan’s blistering 59 and opener Prithvi Shaw’s equally aggressive 43. Dhawan praised the spin trio — including Krunal Pandya — for bringing his side back into the game. “We knew that the wicket had a bit of turn, but the way (our) spinners bowled from the 10th over, they got us back straightaway and they took wickets and all the three spinners did amazing and then later our fast bowlers did a great job,” added the southpaw, who captained India for the first time. He also said that he enjoyed Shaw and Kishan’s batting from the non-striker’s end. “When we batted, I guess it was lovely to stand on the other end and see Prithvi going for the first seven overs and then Ishan coming in and playing his first ball of ODI cricket and I was telling him to take it easy,” he quipped. “The way Prithvi as well as Ishan batted today, it was tremendous and they finished the game in the first 15 overs only. We were just knocking around (then),” said Dhawan. Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka blamed his batters for the defeat, saying they couldn’t get the rhythm going. “Yes, actually, earlier on we started really well but it was hanging a bit, they (Indian bowlers) varied the pace really well. So, I think our batsmen couldn’t get the rhythm going on,” he said. Shanaka also praised the Indian players for being aggressive. “The way Indian players played, they are really aggressive and the kind of cricket they are playing is really good at the moment. We all know how good they are but our bowlers need to lift our bowling phase,” added Shanaka. The second ODI of the three-match series will be held on July 20.