India’s 25th ODI captain Shikhar Dhawan led his side to victory over Sri Lanka in his first-ever outing as the team’s skipper. He heaped praise on the young side after the win and joked debutant Suryakumar Yadav’s batting made him re-think his own batting skills.
Shikhar Dhawan stroked an easy 95-ball 86 not out and forged four good partnerships – 58 off 33 with Prithvi Shaw, 85 off 75 with Ishan Kishan, 72 off 79 with Manish Pandey and an unbeaten 48 off 36 with Suryakumar Yadav.
Suryakumar Yadav contributed 31 runs off just 20 balls in the last partnership, which meant there weren’t enough runs left for Shikhar Dhawan to score what could have been his 18th ODI hundred.
“I thought about it (his hundred), but there were not many runs left. So the focus was on being not out. Even when Surya came in and batted, it looked so easy. I was like, maybe I have to improve my skill,” quipped Shikhar Dhawan in the presentation ceremony.
The seven-wicket victory for India has helped them grab a 1-0 lead in the ODI series. They haven’t lost an ODI in Sri Lanka in almost nine years now.
Happy with the way our three spinners bowled: Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan credited India’s spin trio from the match and praised Prithvi Shaw and debutant Ishan Kishan for their belligerent batting.
Spinners Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Krunal Pandya bowled 29 overs between them, giving away 126 runs and accounting for five wickets. While Krunal Pandya was the most economical bowler, going for just 26 from his quota of 10 overs, both wrist spinners bagged two wickets each.
Prithvi Shaw set the pace for the chase in the first five overs with a 24-ball 43. Making his ODI debut, Ishan Kishan walked out at No.3 and blazed to a 42-ball 59.
“All our boys are very mature as well as aggressive. The way they played today was tremendous, and I am very happy. The way our spinners bowled, they brought us back, all three spinners, Chahal, Kuldeep and Krunal. It was good to be on the other end and watch Prithvi and Ishan. I was telling them to take it easy, actually. The way these young boys play in the IPL and get lots of exposure. They just finished the game in the first 15 overs only,” Shikhar Dhawan summarised the team effort.
The Shikhar Dhawan-led India side had a lot to prove after being dubbed as India ‘B’ side because the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and co. are touring England for the second edition of the World Test Championship (WTC). The second ODI will be played on Tuesday, July 20.