India 255-4 (Kohli 128no, Raina 58no) beat
Sri Lanka 251-8 (Tiwary 4-61) by 6 wickets
Fourth One-Day International, RPS Colombo
Virat Kohli scored another century as India won their five-match series in Sri Lanka with a match still to play by chasing down the home side’s total of 251 for eight with more than seven overs to spare.
India captain MS Dhoni had gambled at the start of the match by dropping leg-spinner Rahul Sharma in order to play batsman Manoj Tiwary, but Tiwary actually excelled with the ball and took four for 61 with his part-time leg-spin.
The move to drop a frontline bowler had looked like a bad one as Sri Lanka’s opening pair of Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan put on 91 for the first wicket inside 19 overs, but once they were parted by Ashok Dinda, who had Dilshan top edging a pull to Dhoni to fall for 42 off 48 balls, their batsmen never got away from India’s bowlers.
Tharanga fell three overs after Dilshan as he walked past a straighter one from R Ashwin and it was left to Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal to rebuild the innings. The pair rotated the strike well on what was a relatively slow pitch, but they were unable to find the boundary with any regularity: Thirimanne didn’t manage even one during his 69-ball 47.
Chandimal ended their promising 50-run partnership, pulling a long-hop from Tiwary to Irfan Pathan at square-leg, and after that Sri Lanka struggled. Tiwary ended with four wickets, while Ashwin took two for 46 and Virender Sehwag one for 38. Indeed, such was the good work being done by India’s spinners that their three frontline seamers only bowled six overs each.
Lasith Malinga clobbered a couple of sixes at the end of the innings to take the home side past 250, but at best, their total of 251 for eight was only par, even when Malinga had yorked Gautam Gambhir in the opening over of India’s run chase. His in-swinging delivery hit the base of Gambhir’s middle-stump and ended the left-hander’s good run of form which had seen him score 167 runs in the last two matches.
Virender Sehwag played with typical fluency and added 52 with Kohli for the second-wicket prior to being caught by the substitute fielder, Sachithra Senanayake, at short cover for 34 off 29 balls. The hopelessly out of form Rohit Sharma was then trapped in front by debutant Nuwan Pradeep three overs later to make it 60 for three, but while Kohli was there the result was never in doubt.
He, along with Tiwary, took the score past 100, and was then joined by India’s other prolific limited-overs run-scorer, Suresh Raina, to share an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 146. Kohli brought up his 13th ODI century off 106 balls, while Raina notched up his 26th score of 50 or more off 46.
After giving a couple of chances early on, they were never overly perturbed by Sri Lanka’s bowlers thereafter, with man of the moment, Thisara Perera, coming in for particularly rough treatment, conceding 51 from six overs.
Raina hit the winning runs with a shot over extra cover to wrap up the series and record what was India’s 400th ODI victory.
© Cricket World 2012
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.