The much-awaited first series of India in 2020 started off with a bang yesterday at the Holkar Stadium, Indore. India took an unassailable lead in the 3 match series against familiar opponents, Srilanka. Rain played a spoilsport in the first match as the match was abandoned without a ball being bowled. But it will be highly unfair to put the entire blame on the rain as the ground staff failed to live up to their expectations and as a result water came inside the cover of the main pitch. This resulted in a damp pitch and the match being called off without a ball being bowled.
India extended their unparalleled dominance in their own crib as they registered a fantastic 7 wicket win over arch-rivals Srilanka. Having won the toss, captain Kohli decided to field first and went ahead with Kuldeep Yadav and Washington Sundar as the opposition team's batting lineup was studded with left-handers.
Srilanka got off to a decent start and they notched up 48 runs in the powerplay with the loss of just one wicket. But they failed to capitalize on their start and eventually slipped through a banana peel in the latter half of the innings. Wickets kept falling like a pack of cards and pressure mounted on the island nation. All eyes were on Jasprit Bumrah as he made a comeback into the national break after being out for some months due to a stress fracture at his lower back. He didn't make an impact based on the standards set by him but he took a crucial wicket at the slog overs. The pick of the bowlers for India was Navdeep Saini as he took two wickets at a scintillating average of 4.5. At the end of 20 overs, a meager 142 was all that Srilanka could amass.
With run rate on their side, India decided to go all-out with the stylish KL Rahul and the dependable Shikhar Dhawan mustering 54 runs at a mind-boggling run rate of 9 in the powerplay. Rahul pushed his case for cementing a place in the opening slot of the national team by yet another classy innings. He amassed 45 runs and his innings were peppered with 6 sixes. Captain Kohli came in and gave the finishing touch with a superb cameo. Shreyas Iyer has in all probability cemented his place at number 4 and the entire number 4 conundrum comes to an end, hopefully. India finally sealed off the match with a superb Virat Kohli six off the third ball of the 17th over and drew first blood in the high voltage series between India and Srilanka.
Navdeep Saini was adjudged the man of the match after his searing pace and occasional variations brought 2 wickets under his belt. He was extremely economical as well.
The action now shifts to Pune when India take on Srilanka on the 10th of January. India will look forward to sealing off the series while Srilanka has a lot to ponder about.
- Sayanta Sengupta