Dhaka, Mar 13: Impressive India opened their Asia Cup title defence with an easy 50-run victory over Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday.
[Scorecard: India Vs Sri Lanka, March 13]
It was a team effort by India which got them the success. After Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli had hit centuries, bowlers Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin shared the honours with the ball as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 254 in 45.1 overs, chasing 305 for a win.
Pathan finished with four wickets while Vinay and Ashwin took three each. Pathan got the last man Seekkuge Prasanna in the 46th over to end the match. Kohli was adjudged the Man-of-the-match.
India are the most successful team in Asia Cup history with five titles. Their next match is on Friday when they face hosts Bangladesh. India and Pakistan both have four points each but India are top of the points table with a better net run rate.
Sri Lanka meet Pakistan on Thursday. Pakistan won the inaugural match on Sunday, beating Bangladesh by 21 runs.
Earlier, captain Mahela Jayawardene (78) was aggressive in his approach after losing Tillakaratne Dilshan cheaply for 7 in the fifth over.
Jaywardene and Kumar Sangakkara (65) kept the chase on track and the former was looking dangerous for India. But Jayawardene perished in trying to guide a wide delivery past the wicketkeeper but a diving MS Dhoni completed a fine catch to send his counterpart back to the pavilion.
Left-arm paceman Irfan Pathan dismissed both openers. Dinesh Chandimal, who came in at number four, did not stay longer as he was bowled for 13 by Ravichandran Ashwin.
After Chandimal's exit, Sangakkara was joined by another left-hander Lahiru Thirimanne (29) and were guiding the team well before both fell to the impressive Ashwin.
At the start of the batting powerplay in the 36th over, Sangakkara tried for a big shot but was caught at deep midwicket. Four balls later, Ashwin trapped Thirimanne LBW to leave Sri Lanka in trouble at 198/5 in 35.5 overs.
Sri Lanka sent Nuwan Kulasekara to take advantage of the batting powerplay but that did not work as he was out for 11. Vinay Kumar struck two blows in as many balls and was on a hat-trick but Farveez Maharoof denied him the third wicket.
After getting Kulasekara with a slower ball, Vinay removed Chamara Kapugedera for a golden duck, courtesy a stunning catch by Virat Kohli at point.
It was an eventful batting powerplay of five overs as four wickets fell for 31 runs and put India in control.
Irfan got his third wicket when Upul Tharanga dragged a wide delivery on to his stumps. Sri Lanka were 241/8 in 42 overs when the left-handed Tharanga left the crease.
India Innings: Gambhir and Kohli hit tons
Gautam Gambhir (100) and Virat Kohli (108) scored centuries as India posted 304/3 in 50 overs against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here on Tuesday.
India's new vice-captain Kohli hit his 10th ODI ton in his 83rd game while Gambhir too reached his 10th century in his 132nd match.
For Kohli, it was his second successive hundred and also against the same opposition. In India's previous match against the Islanders in Hobart, Kohli's sensational 133 not out had sealed an amazing victory while chasing 321 under 40 overs. Kohli is the first Indian to score back-to-back tons twice. He had achieved the feat earlier in 2010, when he scored 118 (against Australia in Visakhapatnam) and 105 (against New Zealand in Guwahati).
It was also second hundred in a row for Kohli at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium as he had hit a 100 not out in the World Cup 2011 opener against Bangladesh. It was also his World Cup debut game.
The 23-year-old right-hander has been in excellent form from the Australian tour and he continued from where he had left in Hobart. Sri Lankan bowlers were at the receiving end for the second game in a row.
Gambhir too did not lag behind his partner as he reached his century after scoring a couple of 90s in the tri-series in Australia.
The Delhi boys raised 205 runs for the second wicket in 37 overs. They joined after Sachin Tendulkar had another failure, dismissed for just 6 runs.
Kohli was the first to reach to his century in 115 balls. Two balls later Gambhir joined his Delhi team-mate, crossing the three-figure mark in 116 balls. They both reached the landmark in the 42nd over.
Coincidentally, both departed in the same over, in the next over, 43rd.
Sri Lanka's hopes of putting the brakes on the scoring after two set batsmen departed, did not materialise. Captain MS Dhoni (46 not out off 26 balls) and Suresh Raina (30 not out off 17 balls) hit 78 runs in 7.1 overs as India crossed the 300-run mark.
Toss Report: Sri Lanka win toss, to field first
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field against India in the Asia Cup to be played at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium at Mirpur today.
After facing each other on four occasions during the tri-series in Australia, Dhoni's men are up against a formidable Lankans as they look to dominate the tournament with a win.
Ravindra Jadeja gets a chance ahead of Yusuf Pathan while Manoj Tiwary is still awaiting his chance. Surprisingly, Lasith Malinga doesn't find a place in the playing XI while Suranga Lakmal gets a chance.
Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene felt the wicket is different when compared to the previous game between Pakistan and Bangladesh.
"We have played here before. Looks like a different wicket. Feel that the ball will come on nicely later," he said.
While, MS Dhoni also felt he would have liked to bowl first, but batting first was not a bad idea though.
"We were looking to bowl first as well. It is not a bad thing to bat first as well. I think Australia was not good for us, we did decently well in the ODI series there. We are happy with the team that we have got. We are going through a transition phase, it is not a settled side, youngsters are still looking to seal places in the side, there is a lot of competition, which is good. It is good to have the experience of Sachin in the side," Dhoni said after losing the toss.
India: MS Dhoni (captain), Virat Kohli (vice-captain), Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardena (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Farveez Maharoof, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Kumar Sangakkara, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne.