India vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI: Kuldeep-Chahal impress together before Karunaratne’s cameo propels SL to 262/9

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Batting at number eight, Karunaratne top-scored with 43 off 35 balls. It was his short yet impactful knock and vital partnerships with Isuru Udana and Dushmantha Chameera in the second half of the third powerplay which helped the hosts post a respectable 262/9 in stipulated 50 overs.

Sri Lankan lower-order batsmen plundered 52 runs in the last five overs which helped hosts get past the 250-run mark, which at one stage looked impossible. The final two overs, bowled by Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar yielded 13 and 19 runs respectively as the hosts finished the innings with a flourish. Barring those five overs in the third powerplay, Indian bowlers never allowed the Sri Lankans to settle down and play a big knock.

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In the first of the six limited-overs matches, including the three T20 Internationals, after the ODI rubber, the Shikhar Dhawan-led Indian side looked in control for the most part of the match. Despite the strike pacers Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar failing to get any breakthrough with the new ball. Both the seamers got early swing but were couldn’t pick up any wickets in the first powerplay.

Opener Avishka Fernando (32) and Minod Bhanuka (27) put on 49 runs for the first wicket before Dhawan introduced spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the attack in the tenth over. Chahal dismissed Fernando on the very first delivery of his spell provided India with the much-needed breakthrough.

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After Fernando’s dismissal, the home team kept losing wickets at regular intervals and failed to challenge the opposition bowlers. Down the order, skipper Dasun Shanaka (39) and Charith Asalanka (38) made useful contributions.

Chahal’s wrist-spin twin, Kuldeep Yadav, also seemed to have found his rhythm as he picked up the wickets of dangerous-looking Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24) and Dhananjaya de Silva (14) in a single over to push the hosts on the back foot.

Pacer Deepak Chahar (2/37), Chahal (2/52) and Kuldeep (2/48) were the pick of the bowlers for India. Bhuvneshwar was the most expensive bowler from the Indian camp as he conceded 63 runs from 9 overs. Hardik Pandya too didn’t look very effective but it was good to see the all-rounder bowl.

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