After Indian skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and put Sri Lanka in to bat, Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka gave the ideal start to their team as both forged a 74-run partnership in 14 overs before the latter was sent back to the pavilion by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (74/1). The whole idea of winning the toss and bowling first was hoping that the wicket would be slightly slow in the day.
Dickwella, who top-scored for the hosts with 64, continued the good work and added 65 for the second wicket with Kusal Mendis, who made a fluent 36.
India vs Sri Lanka 1st ODI Match: Take a look at the India vs Sri Lanka 1st ODI Match Summary, Highlights held at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla. But a stunning batting collapse saw them go from 139/1 to 216 all out as India's spinners - led by Axar Patel (3/34) and Kedar Jadhav (2/26) - fashioned a strong comeback.
However, a 4-1 win for India will see Sri Lanka finish at 88 points and the Caribbean side could edge it on decimal points if they win all their upcoming six matches.
The second innings started off on a disappointing note for the guests after Rohit Sharma's early dismissal.
But after that, there was no looking back for the Indians as the left and right-hand combination of Dhawan and Kohli played smart cricket to take India home in just 28.5 overs.
Meanwhile, India vice-captain Rohit Sharma urged his men against becoming complacent, reminding them of their surprise loss to Sri Lanka in the opening round of the Champions Trophy in June.
Dhawan hammered 20 boundaries and three sixes in his unbeaten 132 runs knock.
In the first match of 5-match ODI series, Shikhar Dhawan batted brilliantly and scored his 11th ODI hundred. Dhawan was named the player of the match. No one thought that we would beat them. We saw in the last series that the team batting first got good scores.
Indian captain Virat Kohli heaped praises on Dhawan and said he is cashing in on his purple patch.
A group of about 50 fans had stood in the vicinity of Sri Lanka's parked bus, shouting slogans and hooting, until police stepped in and cleared the gathering.
Sri Lanka has recalled all-rounders Thisara Perera and Milinda Siriwardana to its limited-over squad and Tharanga was confident of defeating India. With Gunathilka taking up the opener's slot, skipper Upul Tharanga will bat at number four, a position long occupied by Dinesh Chandimal who is off the selectors' radar due to poor form.
Tharanga wants to forget what transpired in the Test series, and believes they did not play well.
Lasith Malinga will play his 200th ODI, 13 years after his debut.