Debutant Ishan Kishan fires and India thumps Sri Lanka

By Kersi Meher-Homji

What a birthday present for India’s Ishan Kishan making his debut for India in the first One Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka last night [on Sunday] at Colombo!

India dominated throughout the match and won comfortably by seven wickets with 80 balls remaining. Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav took two wickets each and Sri Lanka totaled 9 for 262 in the allotted 50 overs.

India started her reply as if there was a fire nearby, hitting fours and sixes galore. Opener Prithvi Shaw batted brilliantly to slam 43 runs off only 24 balls, smashing 9 fours. Then skipper Shikhar Dhawan (86 not out with 8 fours and a six) and newcomer Ishant Kishan (59 with 8 fours and 2 sixes) put India on the road to victory.

At one stage India was one wicket down for 143. They lost only two more wickets in reaching the winning target of 263. Although Shikhar Dhawan top scored in the match for an unbeaten 86, Prithvi Shaw was adjudged Man of the Match for his attacking batting.

Said a happy Indian captain Shikhar Dhawan at the presentation, “All our boys are very mature as well as aggressive. The way they played today was tremendous and I am very happy. The way our spinners bowled ”“ all three spinners Chahal, Kuldeep and Krunal. It was good to be on the other end and watch Prithvi and Ishan. I was telling them to take it easy actually. The way these young boys play in the IPL, they get lots of exposure and they just finished the game in the first 15 overs only. I thought about my hundred but there were not many runs left (laughs).”

Man of the Match Prithvi Shaw said, “It’s fine now, a bit of pain but it’s okay,” he said about the blow to the head. “I went with my instinct and was looking for boundaries. As a batsman, I try to keep the scoreboard ticking. The pitch was good in the first innings and it got better in the second innings. And I like facing fast bowlers. I was disappointed with the shot when I got out. I lost a bit of focus after I was hit on the head.”

India’s top journalist Bipin Dani interviewed Ishan Kishan’s parents Pranav Pandey and Suchita Singh last night for Deccan Chronicle. “They were anxious before the match as their son was making his ODI debut against Sri Lanka on his 23rd birthday. Hope it becomes an icing on the cake”, said his father, a businessman, speaking exclusively to Dani over the telephone from Patna.

“Yes, we wished him at midnight but had no clue about his participation in the match. We hardly discuss cricket with him. Even during this tour, we chat on other general things but never bring pressure on him by discussing cricket. During his school days, the Patna-born player couldn’t balance cricket and his studies. Because of his hectic cricket schedule, he couldn’t cope with both and gave up studying.”

Ishan Kishan is the world’s 16th and just the second Indian player to make an ODI debut on his birthday.  Former middle order batsman Gursharan Singh had made his ODI debut on his birthday (March 8) against Australia at Hamilton in 1990 during the Rothmans Triangular series.

Ishan also became the second man to score a fifty on debut on both ODI and T20I debuts. He had scored 56 in his T20I debut against England this March. The first one was South Africa’s van der Dussen.

India will play two more ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals against Sri Lanka. Top players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah ”¦ are not in the squad for Sri Lanka as another stronger team from India will be touring England soon.

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