Mandhana scores another half-century. ©BCCI

The much-awaited ODI series between India and Sri Lanka started with the 1st ODI at Galle where Mansi Joshi’s fiery spell and Smriti Mandhana’s formidable form helped India to clinch a 9-wicket win in the series opener. As the three ODI series is part of the ICC Women’s Championship, India claimed 2 valuable points.

Electing to bat first, Sri Lanka were certain to post a decent total on board. Eyes were on the captain Chamari Athapaththu who started the innings with wicket-keeper batter P Weerakkody. The returning Mansi Joshi handed India the first breakthrough in the sixth over, by taking the wicket of Weerakkody, who gave an easy catch to Taniya Bhatia behind the wickets.

The team got the second blow when batter Nipuni Hansika got out by a delivery from experienced Jhulan Goswami. Shashikala Siriwardene was next to join Hansika at the pavilion. Joshi picked up Siriwardene, who was dismissed after giving an easy catch to Mandhana in the 10th over.

Indian bowlers didn’t allow the batters to stay for a long time at the crease as Gayakwad picked up Manodara in the 16th over. Poonam Yadav’s leg spin worked again when she picked up Anushka Sanjeewani and Nilakshi de Silva in the same over. Goswami picked a brilliant catch to send Sanjeewani to the pavilion while de Silva’s wicket was a direct catch to bowler Poonam Yadav.

Sri Lanka was soon left struggling at 49/6 after 20 overs when left-hander Sripali Weerakkody came to her side’s rescue. She opened her account with a boundary to the third man region. Skipper Athapaththu’s struggle for runs continued, as she got out to a delivery bowled by Deepti Sharma, after getting a thick outside edge straight to Goswami at the slips.

Debutant Hemalatha got her maiden ODI wicket in the form of Sugandika Kumari. Sripali Weerakkody hit a 32 ball 26, before handing over a low catch to Mithali Raj at the extra cover region. Fall of wickets at regular intervals ended their innings within 98 at 35.1 overs.

Mansi Joshi bagged 3 crucial wickets while Goswami-Yadav picked up 2 wickets each. Sharma, Hemalatha and Gayakwad scalped one wicket each for India. By taking Hansika’s wicket, Goswami picked up her 300th International wicket.

In reply, India started off really well. Opener Smriti Mandhana carried her formidable form from the Super League and notched up her 12th ODI half-century in 42 balls with a six. She remained unbeaten with 73 off 76 which comprised of 11 fours and 2 sixes. The returning Punam Raut scored 24 off 41 with 2 fours before getting dismissed to Ranaweera when only 3 runs were needed to win. Captain Mithali Raj faced two balls while Mandhana finished the match in style by hitting a boundary to the long-off region and helped India to chase down the total within 20 overs.

Captain Mithali Raj surpassed Charlotte Edwards and made her 118th appearance as captain as well as equalled Charlotte Edwards’ record for most ODI wins (72) as captain.


Brief Scores:

India 100/1 (S Mandhana 73*, I Ranaweera 1/5) beat Sri Lanka 98/10 (C Athapaththu 33, M Joshi 3/16) by 9 wickets.