Virat Kohli Steers India to ODI Series Whitewash Over Sri Lanka!
Rival captains Virat Kohli and Angelo Mathews both scored 139 not out, but it was India who emerged winners over Sri Lanka by three wickets in Ranchi to clinch the one-day international series 5-0.
Sri Lanka made 286 for eight batting first with Mathews hitting 10 sixes and six fours in his 116-ball knock, his maiden one-day international century, and he also picked up two early wickets.
India were struggling when Ajantha Mendis, who took four for 73, reduced the hosts to 231 for seven in reply, but Kohli stayed firm throughout the innings to see his side home with eight balls remaining.
Sri Lanka’s batting had survived 50 overs only once this series before this match, but Tillakaratne Dilshan was unfazed, milking Dhawal Kulkarni for three boundaries in the first over of the day. It was a false dawn, though, as the debutant Niroshan Dickwella went cheaply to Kulkarni while Dilshan (35) hit two fours off Stuart Binny in the sixth over but was bowled two balls later.
Dinesh Chandimal (five) and Mahela Jayawardene (32) fell in quick succession to Akshar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin respectively, before Thirimanne and Mathews hit back. Sri Lanka laboured to 100 in 24 overs, and it took a further 13 overs for the next 50.
Mathews brought up his fifty in the 40th over with Sri Lanka’s first six, with Thirimanne surviving three lbw appeals in his 52.
The pair’s second-straight century stand was broken when Thirimanne was caught slogging off Ashwin, which was soon followed by Patel’s dismissal of Thisara Perera. But Mathews added nine more sixes to his tally in a superb finish for Sri Lanka, even though Kulkarni grabbed two late wickets.
Mathews then turned wicket-taker as India suffered a poor start to their chase, the visiting captain bowling Ajinkya Rahane, for two, and Thursday’s double-centurion Rohit Sharma, for nine, in successive overs.
However, from 14 for two, Kohli and Ambati Rayudu (59) launched a magnificent fightback to turn the match back in India’s favour with a 136-run partnership.
Kohli had little trouble getting to his third successive fifty and neither did Rayudu seven overs later, but a horrible mix-up had the latter run-out with India on 150.
Kohli also passed 1,000 runs for 2014, a milestone also passed earlier by Mathews, who took a brilliant diving catch to dismiss Robin Uthappa for 19 as India were reduced to 180 for four.
The hosts still looked favourites at that stage, but Mendis then produced a brilliant spell to bowl the debutant Kedar Jadhav (20), before getting rid of Binny and Ashwin in successive deliveries in the 44th over.
With India suddenly wobbling, needing 47 runs off the final five overs with only three wickets left, the pressure was on Kohli, who duly responded with boundary shots helped along by Patel’s cameo of 17 in a 57-run stand.
It gave the initiative back to India and Kohli fittingly helped finish things off with two sixes off Mendis in the 49th over. Kohli also struck one other six and 12 fours off 126 balls as he recorded his 21st ODI hundred – leaving him joint fifth in the all-time list and top among those still playing.