Dambulla: The Indian bowlers choked the run flow to secure a convincing 34-run victory the Sri Lankan women in the first T20 International here on Thursday.
Defending a modest 139, left-arm spinner Radha Yadav (2/22) made her presence felt right after the Powerplay by dismissing the dangerous-looking Sri Lankan captain Chamari Athapaththu (16) and Harsihtha Madavi (10) in a span of three balls.
Reduced to 27/3 inside seven overs, Sri Lanka never managed to get going in the run chase, which was further derailed by some tight bowling by seamer Deepti Pooja Vastrakar (4-1-13-1) in the middle overs.
Deepti Sharma gave India a fine start, dismissing opener Vishmi Gunaratne (0) in the second over. The senior off-spinner was at her miserly best in the Powerplay, with figures of 3-1-9-1.
Deepti also took a stunning catch running in from deep square leg to give Radha her second wicket of the day.
Kavisha Dilhari waged a lone battle for the hosts with a 49-ball 47 (6x4), but the Indians' top-class bowling and fielding ensured their team emerged easy winners for a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The hosts needed 78 runs in the last five overs and Kavisha got going with a flurry of boundaries against Harmanpreet Kaur and Radha.
But it proved insufficient as the Indians choked the home team's run rate while denying the Islanders any six in their innings.
Shafali Varma compounded Sri Lanka's misery by dismissing Ama Kanchana (11) in the death overs to leave them tottering at 104/5.
Opting to bat, India lost opener Smriti Mandhana (1) in the third over of the game, the 25-year-old becoming the victim of veteran spinner Oshadi Ranasinghe while looking to free her arms.
Sabbhineni Meghana was out for a golden duck, sent back to the dressing room by Ranasinghe.
Losing two wickets early and under pressure in the hot and humid Dambulla, it was left to the duo of Harmanpreet and Shefali to take control of the situation.
A well-settled Verma was the next to go, dismissed by Aththapatu on 31 while trying to go for a maximum.
Smart bowling by the Lankans ensured that they soon got their biggest breakthrough when Harmanpreet (22) was trapped in front of the wicket by spinner Inoka Ranaweera in the 11th over.
Ranaweera picked two more wickets to send back wicketkeeper batter Richa Ghosh (11) and Vastrakar (14) to reduce the visitors to 106/6 in 17 overs and leave Jemimah Rodrigues's with the task of giving the Indian total a semblance of respectability on her return.
Coming in at No. 5, Jemimah, who made her comeback to the side after a while, did not succumb to the pressure and scored some crucial runs, hitting three fours and a six, with Deepti played the second fiddle with 17 off eight balls.