Electric Dhawan's ton and Sri Lanka collapse put dominant India ahead
A combination of Shikhar Dhawan's electric century, Virat Kohli's masterful knock and Sri Lanka's woeful middle-order batting helped India to a commanding nine-wicket victory in Sunday's first ODI.
Sri Lanka were looking to restore some pride having been utterly outclassed in the three-match Test series and were going along nicely at 139-1 on the back of Niroshan Dickwella's 64 in Dambulla.
However, it completely unravelled from there as their next nine wickets went for just 77 runs as part-time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav (2-26) made the hosts' top order toil, before Axar Patel (3-34) got in on the act.
From there it was the Dhawan show as the opener lashed 20 fours and three sixes in his 132 off just 90 balls, with captain Kohli (82) typically brilliant in an unfamiliar role of foil in a blistering 197-run stand.
India were at the crease earlier than expected and, although Rohit Sharma (4) was run out early, Dhawan was quickly in the mood with a couple of cover drives off Lasith Malinga (0-52) pummelled to the boundary.
Malinga and Dilhara Fernando (0-43) were given the workaround and a superb pull over midwicket for six brought up Dhawan's fifty.
There was no let up, albeit a bit of fortune from a top edge that went careering over the rope at long leg kept Dhawan at the crease.
Wanindu Hasaranga (0-35) had no luck either, with Dhawan hitting three fours off the spinner in the 22nd over – the last of which brought up his 11th, and fastest, ODI hundred.
Dhawan's heroics were aided by another sublime knock from talismanic skipper Kohli, who was more patient in his approach – although he did play a stunning back-foot drive off a luckless Lakshan Sandakan (0-63) that cleared the long-on boundary.
It was left to Dhawan to hit the winning runs with a sublime straight drive to round off a memorable knock with 127 balls remaining and put India ahead in the five-match series.
Earlier, a confident Upul Tharanga insisted Sri Lanka were in the mood to bat and that looked the case with Danushka Gunathilaka settled on 35 before an ugly reverse sweep was snapped up by an almost confused KL Rahul at cover.
Dickwella enjoyed particular success down leg side, including two delightful strokes over long-on and midwicket, but when Jadhav trapped him lbw it sparked a rot that Sri Lanka failed to stop.
Axar bowled Kusal Mendis (36) before Tharanga (13) wastefully lobbed one to Dhawan off Jadhav.
Angelo Mathews made an unbeaten 36, but Chamara Kapugedera (1), Hasaranaga (2) and Thisara Perera (0) failed woefully before the rest of the tail was effortlessly swept up.