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Mahendra Singh Dhoni blasted 65 off 87 balls to single-handedly take India to 112 all out after the hosts suffered a dramatic batting collapse against Sri Lanka in the opening one-dayer of the three-match series here today.
Put into bat, Indian batsmen looked clueless as the pace troika of Suranga Lakmal (4/13), Nuwan Pradeep (2/37) and Angelo Mathews (1/8) stifled the hosts with a fine display of swing bowling under seaming conditions at the picturesque HPCA stadium.
The half of the Indian batting line-up was gone for just 16 runs and at one stage, there was a possibility of the hosts being dismissed less than their lowest-ever ODI score of 54, but Dhoni showed his class once again and take the score past the 100-run mark.
Left tottering at 29 for seven, Dhoni and Kuldeep Yadav (19) stitched 41 runs in 47 balls for the eighth wicket to resurrect the Indian innings.
Dhoni clobbered 10 boundaries and two sixes in his crucial knock even as only two other Indian batsmen -- Hardik Pandya (10) and Yadav -- could reach double-digit figures.
With an early start to the match, Lakmal, who completed his quota of 10 overs in a single spell, emerged as the wrecker-in-chief for Sri Lanka, returning with impressive figures of 10-4-13-4.
India's poor batting technique in seaming conditions came to the fore once again as Lakmal exploited the early testing conditions to the full.
Such was the dominance of the Lankan seamers that India scored 11 for 3 in the powerplay overs, the lowest 10-over score in an ODI in the last five years, and second-lowest overall and it would be a timely reminder for the hosts who would be playing in seaming pitches when they tour South Africa next month.
Sri Lanka put India on the backfoot right from the start with Mathews trapping opener Shikhar Dhawan in front of wicket in the last ball of his first over. The on-field umpire had given not out before a review by Sri Lankan team showed that the ball had hit him on line.
Lakmal produced some extra bounce with his away going delivery and Rohit ended up poking at the ball to be back to the pavillion after the third umpire overturned another not out decision.
With India tottering at 2-2, Dinesh Karthik joined debutant Shreyas Iyer in the middle. After four maiden overs in the first five overs, Iyer finally hit the first four and also got off the mark when he guided a Mathews delivery to the mid-wicket boundary.
Living dangerously on the other end, Karthik was then sent back to the hut by Lakmal as India ended the powerplay overs at 11 for 3. Nuwan Pradeep replaced Mathews even as Perera persisted with Lakmal and it worked as the pacer produced a superb delivery to induce a thick outside edge off Manish Pandey as India slumped to 16-4.
Two balls later, Pradeep uprooted Iyer's stumps when the debutant inside-edged a delivery onto the stumps as the hosts lost half their side in the 14th over. Pandya then scored a couple of boundaries before giving an outside edge to Pradeep.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar could not stay for long and it was left to Dhoni and Yadav to avoid the ignominy of being bowled out for their lowest ODI total of 54 against the same opponent in 2000 at Sharjah.
Yadav looked in good touch as he blasted four boundaries but Dickwella produced a brilliant stumping off the bowing of spinner Akele Dananjaya to end his innings in the 26th over.
Dhoni then added 17 and 25 runs with No. 10 Jasprit Bumrah and No. 11 Yuzvendra Chahal before being holed out in the 39th over at cover off Perera.