India blank Sri Lanka, Pakistan

India blank Sri Lanka, Pakistan

Indian shuttlers were off to a flying start in the mixed team championship as they blanked both Sri Lanka and Pakistan by an identical 5-0 margin in a couple of lop-sided preliminary clashes on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games here on Thursday.

Spearheaded by Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth in singles, India expectedly dominated the tie as they dumped their Sri Lankan opponents 5-0. The only match where India were pushed to a degree was the mixed doubles.

Pranaav Chopra and Ruthvika Gadde earlier opened the proceedings against Sachin Dias and Thilini Pramodika and the Indian pair had to toil a little more than anticipated to prevail 21-15, 19-21, 22-20 in the mixed doubles match, which lasted nearly an hour.

However, Srikanth brought the momentum back by dispatching Niluka Karunaratane in straight games. The men's singles top seed won 21-16, 21-10.

The men's doubles pair of Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty made a successful CWG debut, taking down Dinuka Karunaratna and Buwaneka Goonethillkea 21-17, 21-14.

Next player in was Saina and she didn't give much time or effort in annihilating Madushika Beruelage 21-8, 21-4 in a 22-minute appearance.

In the last match of the tie, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy defeated Thilini Pramodika and Kavidi Siriannage 21-12, 21-14.

Later in the day, Satwik combined with Sikki to start the proceedings against Pakistan and the duo dispatched Muhammad Irfan Saeed Bhatti and Palwasha Bashir 21-10, 21-13 in the mixed doubles match to put India 1-0 ahead.

In the men's singles, Srikanth was put to test by Murad Ali, who made the Indian work hard for each point. Eventually, Srikanth managed to get past his rival 21-16, 22-20 in a thrilling match, watched by a sizable diaspora who had turned out to support India.

London Olympic bronze medallist Saina then brushed aside Mahoor Shahzad 21-7, 21-11 as India took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match tie.

Pranaav Chopra and Chirag Shetty next combined to dispatch Muhammad Irfan Saeed Bhatti and Murad 21-9, 21-15 in the men's doubles contest.

Women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Ruthvika then put the final nail on the coffin with a 21-6, 21-10 win against Mahoor and Palwasha as India completed the 5-0 drubbing.

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