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COLOMBO: The way Ishan Kishan danced down the track to lift Dhananjaya de Silva down the ground for a six off the first ball he faced in ODIs, before cutting the spinner for a four off the next delivery, reflected the mindset of India’s IPL-fuelled gen-next, which believes in an ‘attack first’ policy. Powered by a captain’s knock by Shikhar Shawan, who slammed his 33rd halfcentury (86 not out, 95b, 6×4, 1×6), a 33-ball explosive half-century by ‘birthday boy’ ‘keeper-bat Kishan (59 off 42 balls) and a 23-ball 43 blitzkrieg by opener Prithvi Shaw, India scored a comprehensive seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the opening ODI at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday night, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
After Kishan and Shaw’s fireworks, Dhawan finished the job with Manish Pandey (26, 40b, 1×4, 1×6) and Suryakumar Yadav (31 not out, 20b, 5×4), another ODI debutant for India on the day, chipping in. Dhawan, who went past 6,000 ODI runs, deserves praise for the way he shed his normally aggressive approach to drop anchor at one end, enabling Kishan and Shaw to score at a fast pace.
Arriving at Shaw’s fall, Kishan, carted eight fours and two sixes, to smash the second-fastest fifty by a batsman in his first game in ODIs, keeping the momentum of India’s chase going ballistic. Using his feet and dancing down the track repeatedly, Kishan, was especially harsh on the spinners. If Shaw’s innings was all about timing and placement, Kishan’s knock was about brute power. Continuing his blazing form, Shaw cracked nine sweetly-timed fours to help India race away to 58 in five overs in pursuit of 262. It was almost as if he was enjoying a ‘net session,’ stroking the ball in a sublime manner. Perhaps rattled by a blow to his head off a bouncer by Dushmantha Chameera, Shaw seemed to have lost his concentration, as he threw his wicket away, spooning off-spinner Dhananjaya to long on.
Earlier, No 8 Chamika Karunaratne stroked an unbeaten 43 off 35 balls to help Sri Lanka finish at 262 for nine after the hosts chose to bat first. Too many Sri Lankan batsmen failed to capitalize on their starts— skipper Dasun Shanaka (39), Charith Asalanka (38), Avishka Fernando (33), Minod Bhanuka (27) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24) were all guilty of not carrying on after getting set. Prompted by the conditions, India played three spinners, and all of them did well. The match marked the return of the leg-spin duo of Yuzuvendra Chahal and Kuldeep — a pair fondly known as ‘Kulcha.’ Reunited in an ODI for the first time since the World Cup game against England at Edgbaston in 2019, they picked four wickets between them.

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