As the dot-ball pressure built on from one end, Dhawan paid the price as he fell 10 short of a 100.
Perera was in some mood tonight as he smashed Indian bowlers all around over the park with pacer Shardul Thakur bearing the brunt of his assault, leaking 27 runs in his first over of the night. And therein began India's tough time.
Pace spearhead Dushmantha Chameera claimed two wickets including the prized scalp of India skipper Rohit Sharma for nought in the first over of the innings.
Dig into the best partnerships in ODIs since the beginning of 2014 and you will find that Dhawan and Rohit are India's best pair and the fifth overall in terms of partnership runs.
Both added 95 runs off 64 balls to put India on course for a big total.
Shikhar Dhawan (90) played the decisive knock that came in 49 deliveries and had six apiece of boundaries and maximums.
His innings was crafted by six fours and four sixes. Hathurusingha coached Bangladesh through their most successful period in his three years in charge before returning home to lead a beleaguered Sri Lanka to victory against his old charges.
Kusal Mendis (11), Gunathilaka (19) and Dinesh Chandimal (14) all went before Perera was stumped by Dinesh Karthik off the bowling off Washington Sundar (two for 28). However, his namesake Kusal Perera arrived and changed the complexion of the game completely. The on-song left-hander made a decision to even take on India's form bowler - Chahal - to put Rohit in a fix regarding his bowling options for the death overs.
Kusal Perera, however, undid India's hard work with a swashbuckling 66 (37b, 6x4, 4x6) to help the hosts post a five-wicket win.
Kusal Perera celebrates scoring a half-century during the match. Suspended by the International Cricket Council for failing a dope test, Perera was forced to miss almost six months of cricket before he successfully challenged the findings. But it didn't matter as SL still had Upul Tharanga.
"We had to attack in the first six overs". By the end of 16th over, Sri Lanka needed 35 off 24 balls. Soon, Perera was dismissed by Sundar to bring India back into the game. "Hopefully we'll come back strong". Flights the delivery and Mendis look to clob it over mid-off only to find Dhawan who takes a catch running backwards.
This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire. The ball did not quite boom off the bat and Jeevan Mendis sensed the sliver of an opportunity and ran hard and fast, keeping his eyes on the white cherry as it dipped. And he failed to deliver.
On February 2016, when Sri Lanka last beat India in a T20I match.