DAMBULLA, Aug 20: Opener Shikhar Dhawan hit a fluent unbeaten century as India continued to embarrass Sri Lanka, cruising to an easy nine-wicket win over the struggling hosts in the opening ODI of the five-match series, here today.
India carried its domination from the Test series into the One-day format and achieved its biggest ever win in terms of overs left while chasing a 200-plus total.
The dominant hosts overhauled the 217-run target with 127 balls to spare with Dhawan annihilating the Lankan attack with his brutal 132-run knock which came off just 90 balls.
Dhawan punished the bowlers with 21 boundaries, including three sixes, finishing the match in a jiffy. He brought up his 11th ODI hundred off only 71 balls and it was the second quickest hundred against Sri Lanka by an Indian batsman after Virender Sehwag�s 66-ball effort at Rajkot in 2009.
The left-hander raised an unbeaten 197-run partnership for the second wicket with skipper Virat Kohli, who scored 82 off 70 balls.
Sri Lanka after being invited to bat enjoyed its best start since India�s arrival in the country but suffered a batting collapse to be all out for 216 in 43.2 overs, losing nine wickets for just 77 runs.
Niroshan Dickwella (65) and Danushka Gunathilaka (35) gave the hosts a promising start with a 74-run stand but it went on a self destruction mode to be all out in the 44th over from a solid 139 for one.
Left arm spinner Axar Patel was the stand out bowler for India with career-best figures of three for 34 runs. He was playing his first international match since October last year.
Chasing a paltry 217, India did not make the best of starts as Rohit Sharma (4) was run out in the fifth over when he lost his bat and did not ground his feet behind the crease to beat Chamara Kapugedara�s throw.
He made a slow start and was clearly rusty after sitting out the first half of this tour.
But Dhawan batted like he had been throughout this trip and put the Lankan attack to the sword once again. With Kohli for company, he brought up India�s 50 in the ninth over and after the first powerplay, the visitors were placed at a comfortable 64 for one.
Their 50-run partnership came off only 38 balls. While Dhawan played some attacking strokes, Kohli was content with rotating strike. They never looked at any discomfort during their stay at the crease together, and indeed Sri Lanka did not look like breaking this partnership either.
Dhawan reached his half-century off 36 balls, inclusive of eight fours and a six. He did not slow down thereafter either and kept attacking the Lankan bowlers with their partnership crossing the 100-mark in 78 balls.
The opener, though got a life on 88 in the 21st over off Vishwa Fernando with keeper Dickwella diving full stretch to his left but unable to pouch the edge.
At the other end, Kohli scored his 44th ODI half-century off 50 balls, inclusive of six fours. The Indian skipper accelerated thereafter, scoring 32 off only next 20 balls, with another 4 fours and a six.
Dhawan was again dropped off Lasith Malinga in the 26th over at long on as Lankan shoulders dropped. The hosts were soon put out of their misery as India won with 21.1 overs to spare.
Earlier, Sri Lankan fans turned up at the venue expecting an improved showing from the meek surrender in the preceding Test series but they were left disappointed.
India opted to go in with left-arm spinner Patel and leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal as Kuldeep Yadav was surprisingly left out.
Sri Lanka: N Dickwella lbw b Jadhav 64, D Gunathilaka c Rahulb Chahal 35, K Mendis b Patel 36, U Tharanga c Dhawan b Jadhav 13, A Mathews not out 36, C Kapugedara run out (Kohli) 1, W Hasaranga c Jadhav b Patel 2, T Perera b Bumrah 0, L Sandakan lbw b Patel 5, L Malinga st Dhoni b Chahal 8, V Fernando b Bumrah 0. Extras: (lb6, w10) 16. Total: (all out in 43.2 overs) 216. Fall of wickets: 1-74, 2-139, 3-150, 4-166, 5-169, 6-176, 7-178, 8-187, 9-209. Bowling: B Kumar 6-0-33-0, H Pandya 6-0-35-0, J Bumrah 6.2-0-22-2, Y Chahal 10-0-60-2, K Jadhav 5-0-26-2, A Patel 10-0-34-3.
India: R Sharma run out 4, S Dhawan not out 132, V Kohli not out 82. Extras: (WD-2) 2. Total: (For one wicket in 28.5 overs) 220. Fall of wickets: 1-23. Bowling: L Malinga 8-0-52-0, V Fernado 6-0-43-0, A Mathews 2-0-9-0, T Perera 2-0-18-0, L Sandakan 6-0-63-0, W Hasaranga 4.5-0-35-0. � PTI