Virat’s century gives India series win against Sri Lanka

Virat KohliColombo: He once again played with authority, almost an arrogance that was dazzling to watch and impossible to comprehend. He played was an innings that signified the aesthetics of skilful batsmanship. At present Virat Kohli exits in a world where no shot is beyond his imagination. The Indian vice-captain once again came to his team’s rescue with an unbeaten hundred (his 13th in 89 ODIs) and in the company of Suresh Raina steered India to a six-wicket win against Sri Lanka in the five-match one day series at Premadasa Stadium here on Tuesday. The win also helped India seal the series with a 3-1 lead.

With four wickets down for 109 in the 24th over, India were in a tizzy situation until the young brigade once again showed the grit to fight back on their own, as Virat Kohli combined well with Suresh Raina to resurrect the Indian innings.  Kohli scored an unbeaten 119-ball 128 and his partnership of 146 runs with Suresh Raina (58), helped India reach 252-run target in 42.2 overs to give he visitors a series win.

Kohli’s form with the bat continued as he hit his 13th century in his 89th ODI appearance, a feat still unattained by any other batsman in ODI history. The Delhi batsman, on his way to another three-digit figure, also completed quickest 1000 runs in a calender year with a whopping average of 77.15. He has now scored his fifth century in last eight matches. Meanwhile Raina's 51-ball 58 was his 24th half century and eighth against Sri Lanka.

Earlier India started off badly as they lost in-form Gautam Gambhir to Lasith Malinga in the very first ball of the match. Though Virender Sehwag and Kohli put the Indian chase back on track with a 50-run stand for the second wicket but soon Angelo Mathews got rid of Sehwag in the 10th over for 34. Rohit Sharma, who joined Kohli, once again flopped with his willow and was trapped by Pradeep for just four.

Manoj Tiwary, who was playing after warming the bench for long and had done fantastically well with a four-wicket haul earlier on the day, showed some of his batting prowess before Mendis trapped him on 21. Thereafter Kohli found an able partner in Raina and the duo helped India clinch the series.

Earlier, Dilshan (42) and Tharanga (51) got their team off to a good start as they added 81 runs for the first wicket. The middle order batsmen couldn’t capitalise the solid foundation and towards the end, the Lanka failed to put a formidable score in a crucial match.