Kohli ton helps India secure a whitewash

2014-11-17 00:00

VIRAT Kohli scored an unbeaten hundred as India beat Sri Lanka by three wickets to secure a 5-0 series whitewash in the fifth One-Day International in Ranchi yesterday.

The stand-in skipper showed plenty of leadership in his innings, akin to his opposite number Angelo Mathews earlier on, as he came in with his side in a precarious situation following failings of openers Ajinkya Rahane (two) and Rohit Sharma (nine) to leave them reeling at 14 for two inside five overs.

Kohli then set about rebuilding the platform with Ambati Rayudu, putting on 136 for the third wicket until the latter was run out in the 28th after being sent back by his ball-watching partner for 59.

Ajantha Mendis then made things interesting as he took frequent wickets, crippling India’s middle-to-lower order with figures of 4-73 which saw the game go to the penultimate over.

Kohli decided to avoid the last over as he smashed Mendis for six in the first ball of the 49th and then repeated that in the fourth ball of the same over to take his tally to 139 from 126 balls as India reached 288-7 for a nervous win at the JSCA International Cricket Stadium.

Earlier, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews smashed an unbeaten 139 to propel his side to 286 for eight from their 50 overs.

The visitors found themselves in a bind following the cheap dismissals of debutant opener Niroshan Dickwella (four) and keeper/batsman Denesh Chandimal (five) after Mathews won the toss and decided to bat first.

With the dismissal of the experienced Mahela Jayawardene (32) in the 19th over with the scoreboard on 85 for four, the hosts seemed to be in complete control.

However, Mathews combined with Lahiru Thirimanne (52) to grab the game by the scruff of the neck with a determined 128-run fifth-wicket partnership that changed the course of their innings.

Mathews accelerated considerably in the latter part of his 116-ball knock, plundering 10 sixes and 6 fours along the way.

Rookie seam bowler Dhawal Kulkarni was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-57 from 8 overs.

“Little worried and little annoyed [when running out of partners]. You have to understand the match situations,” Kohli said.

“There needs to be more application. Akshar [Patel] played a composed innings, he listened to me. The ball wasn’t quite coming on. It wasn’t easy once the ball got old. I was running out of partners and that is something others need to learn from this on how to maintain composure. If you want to make others to do something else, it has to start from me.

“I played the helicopter and it came off well, playing in MS’s hometown, it worked well. You saw the character and composure of some young guys in the series. Rohit’s knock was legendary and it won’t be bettered soon.”

Mathews said: “Unfortunately, we did not play good cricket once again and India did play very well. It was a tough wicket. I thought I needed to hang in there and build a partnership with Thirimanne and later i had a go and it clicked. We batted pretty well and 287 was a huge score on this pitch. But Kohli batted very well and best of luck to them in Australia. We got to flush this out of the system as soon as possible and need to gear up for the England series.”

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