India might have brought an inexperienced team to Sri Lanka, but that hardly made a difference in the series opener as they registered a thumping 7-wicket win over the hosts in the first ODI in Colombo on Sunday.
Shikhar Dhawan, who became the 25th leader of India in the 50-over format, made a smashing captaincy debut and led from the front by top-scoring in their successful chase, apart from claiming a couple of important milestones along the way.
India made light work of the 263-run chase, going past the finish line in just 36.4 overs with Dhawan unbeaten on 86. He went past 6000 ODI runs during the innings and also completed 1000 runs against Sri Lanka in the format.
Another player who made a massive impact in the game was Ishan Kishan, who became the first Indian to hit a fifty on his T20I and ODI debuts. Kishan smashed 59 off 42 balls with 8 fours and a couple of sixes to become the second batsman after South African Rassie van der Dussen score half-centuries on debut in T20I and ODI cricket.
Kishan, who turned 23 on Sunday, became the 16th Indian to score a fifty on ODI debut, blazing his way to the mark in just 33 balls, making it the second fastest ODI fifty by an Indian after Krunal Pandya's 26-ball blitzkrieg against England in March.
'KULCHA' REUNITE TO SCRIPT LANKAN DOWNFALL
Earlier, a late cameo from Chamika Karunaratne helped Sri Lanka reach 262 for 9 after electing to bat first at the R Premadasa stadium.
Indian bowlers dominated the majority of the first innings after reducing the hosts to 117 for 4 by the half-way mark but Sri Lanka fought back through their lower middle-order of Karunaratne and captain Dasun Shanaka while Charith Asalanka also made a useful contribution.
Karunaratne top-scored with 43 not out off 35 balls while Shanaka and Asalanka made 39 and 38 respectively to help their team reach a challenging total after the Indian spinners had them on the ropes in the first half of their innings.
Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, playing together for the first time since the 2019 World Cup group-stage defeat against England, picked up a couple of wickets each while fast bowler Deepak Chahar also struck twice just before the death overs.
Hardik Pandya, who bowled for the first time for India since March 28, picked up a wicket from his 5 overs while his older brother Krunal also chipped in with a wicket. Vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the only bowler who didn't taste success for the visitors.
The next match will be played at the same venue on July 20. The three-match series was pushed back by 5 days after a couple of Covid-19 cases in the Sri Lankan camp disrupted the schedule.
3rd T20I (N), Colombo (RPS),29 Jul2021
2nd T20I (N), Colombo (RPS), 28 Jul 2021
1st T20I, Bridgetown, 28 Jul 2021
3rd ODI (D/N), Barbados, 26 Jul 2021