The decision to promote Virat Kohli as the second in command to Mahendra Singh Dhoni triggered a lot of speculation about a possible rift between Kohli and Gautam Gambhir, but seeing them bat together on Tuesday puts all doubts to rest.
The way they batted against the Sri Lanka in their opening match of the Asia cup has made it clear that all is well between the Delhi team-mates. And this fact definitely must have triggered all the rival teams – Sri Lanka in particular -- trying to chalk out plans as to how to stop them. The Lankan Tigers it seems have become the punch bag for the dynamic duo and both these players have exceptional records individually and as a pair against the Island nation.
And here is a look why we say so:
Both of them have registered 10 centuries and Sri Lanka has been on the receiving end most of the times. Kohli has scored three centuries and Gambhir has belted five against them. Their personal best is also against them and together they have been a living nightmare for the Lankans.
Gambhir started tormenting Sri Lanka much earlier than Kohli and got his first century against them in the year 2005. He scored 103 at a strike rate of 106.8. And when Kohli came, he followed suit to notch his maiden ton against the Lankans in the year 2009 when he scored 107 at the Eden Gardens. Both the players scored century in that match and piled up a mammoth 224 runs partnership with Gambhir remaining 150 not out, his highest score in ODI’s. The partnership helped India seal the series 3-1.
Next time they came together against Lankans it was the grandest stage of them all, the 2011 World Cup finals in Mumbai. India batting second had to chase 275, which did not look that daunting. But India’s chase did not start on an expected line as Malinga cleaned up Indian openers Sachin and Sehwag for cheap. Looking down the barrel, it was again Kohli and Gambhir who took the affairs in their own hand. They played sensibly and even though none of them could get a century, the duo put up a 114-run partnership to steady the drowning boat of India. The partnership created the platform and Gambhir went on to score 97 and missed a well deserved ton. But nevertheless that partnership took the pressure off everyone and later middle order performance gave India team the most important victory of their life.
If they did not have enough, they got their act together again and gave India the most famous victory of the recent times. Their 115-run partnership against Sri Lanka in their last match of the CB series in Australia helped India enter the history books with the most prolific run chase of all time. They chased down 321 in 37 overs, a record which might remain untouched. Virat played the major hand and got his highest score of 133 but Gambhir was also instrumental with his 63 to set up the platform.
And on Tuesday, the Delhi team-mates got back together to post a double hundred run stand. They scored century apiece to help India post 304 and bat the opponents out of the team in their opening matchup of the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.
The pair plays with same vigor and has in them to overtake the pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, one of the most successful pairs in ODI’s. Records are meant to be broken, and if they continue like this, it would not take them much time to go past their seniors.
By Samikshan Dutta Choudhury
Indian Sports News