India seal series with Virat Kohli ton
Virat Kohli’s 13th ODI hundred powered India to a win in the 4th ODI against Sri Lanka at Colombo on Tuesday and gave them an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s openers gave them a great start, adding 91 for the first wicket after Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and chose to bat first. Tillakaratne Dilshan made 42 quick runs before Ashok Dinda got the breakthrough. Ashwin quickly removed Upul Tharanga (51) at the other end after which Lahiru Thirimanne, replacing Kumar Sangakkara in the RCB line up and Dinesh Chandimal added 50 for the third wicket.
Bringing in Manoj Tiwary to replace Rahul Sharma left India a bowler short and forced MS Dhoni to turn to his part-timers for 10 of the 50 overs. The move paid off as Tiwary removed Chandimal (28) and Sehwag (1/38) removed Jayawardene (3). Tiwary (4/61) returned to remove Angelo Mathews (14), Jeevan Mendis (17) and Thisara Perera (2). Thirimanne could only watch from the other end before Ashwin (2/46) dismissed him for 47. Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath swung for everything and took Sri Lanka to a respectable 251/8.
The in form Gautam Gambhir was removed for a duck by Malinga in the first over of the Indian chase. Sehwag (34) looked in good touch before substitute fielder Sachithra Senanayake took a great catch to dismiss him. A very uneasy looking Rohit Sharma took 10 balls to get off the mark, 7 balls later he was gone LBW for 4 against former RCB bowler Nuwan Pradeep, Pradeep’s first victim in ODIs.
Manoj Tiwary and Virat Kohli steadied the ship briefly with a 49 run stand for the fourth wicket before Tiwary (21) was trapped LBW by Mendis, leaving India at a troublesome 109/4 in 24th over. Suresh Raina was promoted ahead of Dhoni and he was lucky to survive dropped catches and missed run outs early in his knock.
Kohli was settled by the time Raina arrived and helped take the pressure off the southpaw. The duo organized their partnership clinically, running hard and finding gaps occasionally to keep the required run rate in check.
Kohli only hit two fours in his fifty which he brought up in 65 deliveries before accelerating. The duo attacked the spinners Herath and Mendis, forcing Jayawardene to bring back his seamers. From 114 required from 20 overs, they brought the equation down to 80 required from 15 overs when the Batting Powerplay was taken.
Malinga was milked without overt risks and Pradeep was attacked, forcing Jayawardene to bring in Thisara Perera whose medium pace was a bigger respite for the batsmen. Kohli played a couple of terrific shots to race to his hundred off 106 balls, his 5th against Sri Lanka and his 13th overall. Raina had brought up his third 50 of the series off 46 balls.
The spinners were brought back into the attack and Kohli obliged, tearing into Herath and Dilshan as he brought up his 1000th ODI run for the year 2012. India only took 42 deliveries to score their last 80 runs, posting 255/4 in 42.2 overs. Kohli finished on 128* (119b, 12x4, 1x6) while Raina finished on 58* (51b, 4x4, 1x6).
The win was India’s 400th ODI win out of the 808 ODIs they have played. It also helped them seal a 3-1 series win with one ODI to go. It also meant India have not lost a bilateral ODI series in Sri Lanka in the last 15 years, a milestone capped by Virat Kohli’s Man of the Match award.