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by Alastair Symondson Sunday 16 November 2014
India 288-7 (Kohli 139no, Rayudu 59) beatSri Lanka 286-8 (Mathews 139no) by three wicketsFifth One-Day International, RanchiScorecard
Opposing captains Virat Kohli and Angelo Mathews both scored fine unbeaten centuries but Kohli's effort proved decisive as India won the fifth and final One-Day International against Sri Lanka in Ranchi.
Both men hit 139 not out; Mathews propelled Sri Lanka to 286 for eight before Kohli drove India to victory with eight balls to spare.
India's three-wicket win handed them a 5-0 series triumph.
Both captains needed support, which came in Mathews' case from Lahiru Thirimanne, whose 52 helped add 128 for the fifth wicket before Mathews accelerated to reach his maiden ODI century.
Kohli struck up an excellent partnership with Ambati Rayudu, who made 59 before being run out once the pair had put on 136 for the third wicket.
Ajantha Mendis picked up four for 73 to hand Sri Lanka a lifeline but Kohli marshalled his team home with his 21st ODI century.
13 of those have come chasing and now six have come against Sri Lanka.
Batting first, Tillakaratne Dilshan gave Sri Lanka a flying start with 35 in 24 balls but they lost Niroshan Dickwella (4) and Dinesh Chandimal (5) cheaply and when Dilshan was bowled by Stuart Binny, Sri Lanka were 83 for three.
In walked Mathews but it was not long before Mahela Jayawardene fell for 32, leaving Mathews and Thirimanne with plenty of work to do.
Thirimanne made 52 in 76 balls as Mathews cracked six fours and 10 sixes during a powerful innings in which he was brutal against spinners, in particular Rayudu and Karn Sharma.
After Thirimanne fell to Ravichandran Ashwin soon after he had reached his second half-century in as many games, Thisara Perera (6), Seekkuge Prasanna (0) and Ajantha Mendis (0) fell but Mathews continued hitting at the other end.
He had faced 116 balls by the end of the innings and his first century arrived in his 138th match although he would end up on the losing side.
Dhawal Kulkarni (3-57), Binny (1-28), Akshar Patel (2-45) and Ashwin (2-56) were India's wicket-takers.
With some variable bounce around, batting was not particularly easy and India were in trouble in their reply when Ajinkya Rahane (2) and Rohit Sharma (9) were bowled by Mathews.
Rahane missed a ball that kept low and Sharma tried to pull a ball that wasn't quite short enough.
That brought Rayudu and Kohli together and like Mathews and Thirimanne before them, they set to work rebuilding the innings, and did an excellent job.
Rayudu made 59 in 69 balls with eight fours and one six and was looking very well set indeed when Kohli did not respond to his call for a single. Rayudu was run out after almost meeting Kohli at the striker's end and then turning and racing back to his crease.
By now, Kohli was getting into his stride with some lovely shots all around the wicket, and he was helped by Robin Uthappa (19) and debutant Kedar Jadhav (21) scoring runs quickly so pressure didn't build in terms of the run-rate as he passed three figures.
However, as Mendis struck to dismiss Uthappa, Jadhav, Binny (12) and Ashwin (1) - the latter two in consecutive balls - the pressure was racked up and India still needed 47 to win from the last five overs.
Ever cool, Kohli found the boundary when he needed to including a brilliant six over cover to ensure that India got home without needing to take the game to the final over.
Some credit for that must also go to Patel, who was unbeaten at the end on 17 in 14 balls and barely looked flustered by the situation.
Fittingly, it was Kohli who hit the winning runs with his third six of the innings, hammered over long-on off Mendis.
He faced 126 balls and also hit 12 fours.
© Cricket World 2014