Sri Lanka ended their losing streak in India by winning the first One day International of three-match ODI series by seven wickets at HPCA Cricket Stadium, in Dharamshala on Sunday.
Thisara Perera-led Sri Lankan side won the toss and decided to bowl first against the high-flying hosts, who have struggled on conditions tailor-made for seam bowlers. With the help of stunning show with the ball of Suranga Lakmal, who finished with career-best figures of 4 for 13, Lanka bundled India out for 112. It was an easy target for the touring side, as they chased the target in just 20.4 overs and won the first ODI.
Although the tourists brilliantly managed to win the series opener in Dharamsala, Lankan all-rounder Suranga Lakmal felt they could have bowled India out for their lowest total like they did in Sharjah in 2000 when Islanders bundled India out for 55.
In an interview with Cricbuzz, Lakmal said, “I think they were 29 for 7 at one stage. We thought we could bowl them out for 40 runs or so. But MS Dhoni batted beautifully. Had we dismissed him early, we could have dismissed them cheaply. You've got to realize that he is a world-class player. He has been in these situations before, having played over 300 ODIs. Our focus was on winning the game. So we didn't worry about it too much after we had made a good start.”
Dharamsala win was very important for the Sri Lankan as they ended losing streak for 12 games with this victory, as they had lost 16 ODIs since beating Zimbabwe in July this year.
Commenting on their white-ball record, the fast bowler said, “It's been quite a struggle for us in white-ball cricket. We lost 12 ODIs in a row and at one point our World Cup participation was in doubt as well. Very pleasing to win here and take a lead in the series. We had some very good training and our planning was good and today the execution was perfect.”
On being asked about his own show on the first ODI, the 30-year-old said, “Very satisfied with that effort. It's the first time I have bowled ten overs in one go. What happened was I was going to stop on two occasions. Then we got a breakthrough. The captain asked do you want to stop, but I thought the conditions were perfect and I told him I will keep going. I enjoyed the effort.”
He further added on the same, “After the Delhi game, I was unwell. I am not hundred percent fit. I vomited several times today as well. Never played under conditions like in Delhi before. I had a few tests done and wasn't feeling well. Everyone was urging me to play here and I also wanted to be part of the team and I am glad that it all came off well.”
This year, Lakmal has been phenomenal across all departments so far, putting stunning performances all over the world - from Cape Town and Dubai to Kolkata and Dharamsala. The all-rounder also admitted that he has made some changes in his action. Lakmal concluded by saying, “I have changed my run up by reducing the steps and a bit of change in my action. If you take my action earlier, I was not getting my hand straight and follow through straight. When the ball hits the seam that does the trick.”