Riding on Virat Kohli‘s magnificent 87-ball 113 – his 45th ODI hundred – and quickfire knocks by captain Rohit Sharma (83) and opener Shubman Gill (70), India racked up a mammoth 373/7 in their 50 overs on a superb batting pitch.
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka led the run chase with an unbeaten 108, helped by India’s decision to withdraw their appeal when he was run out by Mohammed Shami when on 98 in the last over, and opener Pathum Nissanka’s 72-run knock.
Imran Malik was the pick of the Indian bowlers, taking 3/57 from his 8 overs.
But one of the talking points of the match was the Indian team management’s decision to leave out Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan from the playing XI.
Both Suryakumar and Ishan have been prolific run-scorers for India in white-ball cricket recently and given their form with the bat, leaving them out from the playing XI was inexplicable.
World’s number one batsman in the format, Suryakumar had smashed his third T20 hundred — in 45 balls — in India’s series-clinching 91-run win over Sri Lanka in Rajkot last week.
Playing only his 10th ODI, Ishan had scored the fastest double hundred in ODI cricket history last month against Bangladesh.
Addressing a press conference a day before the ODI series opener, skipper Rohit had termed Ishan’s exclusion unfortunate adding that he would get his share of chances as India have 15 ODIs and the Asia Cup lined up before the World Cup in October-November.
Gill, on his part, completed his fifth half-century in 16 ODIs, playing an innings full of grace and fluidity until he played across the line to get caught in front of the stumps by Shanaka after scoring 70 off 60 balls with 11 fours.
KL Rahul (39) and Shreyas Iyer (28), any of who could make way for Suryakumar, got starts but failed to convert.
But leaving out players even after some good performances dents their confidence and they need to be given a long run as there is nothing as good as “match practice” in the middle.
TimesofIndia.com ran a poll asking readers whether Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan should have been a part of India playing XI in the 1st ODI against Sri Lanka?
And not surprisingly, 1772 fans voted for the ‘YES’ option, while only 319 fans voted for the ‘NO’ option.
It remains to be seen whether the two swashbuckling batsmen will be included for the remaining ODIs against Sri Lanka, or for the forthcoming series against New Zealand and Australia.