India completed a clinical victory over Sri Lanka in the first match of the 3-game series in Guwahati this evening.
In a misty evening in Assam, India secured a win by the margin of 67 runs where Virat Kohli and Umran Malik headlined the show.
The onset of 2023 could not have been more auspicious for India as Virat Kohli opened his account with a century and captain Rohit Sharma played a blazing 83 on his return to international cricket after being out of action due to thumb injury.
The Indian innings was the template of the team has been searching for. Openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma started off in rather aggressive fashion after being sent to bat first and raked up runs at a rapid rate.
At the time that first wicket fell, India had already notched up more than 140 runs at the 19th over of the game.
India captain Rohit Sharma, picked up where he had left with a spirited half century, and scored 83 runs. Sharma would have been ruing the fact that he was not able to convert this into a century, which could have been his first since 2020.
At the mid-innings break, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir fumed with the way that Sri Lanka had bowled. He criticised them for their approach and intensity and said that he was rather surprised by their meek approach.
Sri Lanka did not help themselves with their slopping fielding either, dropping Kohli twice after his half-century and poor commitment at the boundary rope.
India pacers dominated Sri Lanka batters in what looked like a brilliant track to bat on. Despite heavy due, the trio of Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Umran Malik let their presence felt in picking up at least one wicket each.
Malik was the best of the lot today, bowling at extreme pace and setting the record for an Indian international with his 156kph ball in the 14th over. He picked 3 wickets from his 8 overs after giving away 57 runs.
Malik was hit all around the ground in his final spell when Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka took him on.
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka started a late revival for Sri Lanka in the final 10 overs of the game. While Sri Lanka were nowhere near the target, they irritated the India bowlers by stretching the game till the final over.
Shanaka was the main man for the visitors, hitting 108 runs from 88 balls as he showed a full repertoire of shots late in the day. India’s catching in the outfield was poor as well, dropping catches just like Sri Lanka did in their first innings. He was allowed to get to his century after India captain Rohit Sharma withdrew an appeal for Mankad from Mohammad Shami in the final over of the match.
Shanaka reached his century in the second last ball of the innings, but could not help Sri Lanka get over the rope.