Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma tons flatten Sri Lanka in 4th ODI as India take 4-0 lead
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma hit centuries as India scored 375/5 in the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka in Colombo, then dismissed the hosts for 207 to take a 4-0 lead in the series.Updated: Aug 31, 2017 22:49 IST
The well-oiled Indian one-day machinery left Sri Lanka enduring another ordeal in the one-day series with the fourth match at the Premadasa Stadium on Thursday simply an extension of the continuing mismatch.(IND vs SL HIGHLIGHTS)
Virat Kohli won the toss and joined Rohit Sharma to pummel Sri Lankan bowlers. India piled up 375 for five on a belter of a pitch and Sri Lankan batsmen’s refusal to fight meant a 168–run victory and a 4-0 series lead. Sri Lanka folded for 207 in 42.4 overs. (IND vs SL FULL SCORECARD)
Virat Kohli struck his 29th ODI century, a 96-ball 131 that promised plenty more. Rohit (104) was the anchor as he stroked his second century in a row, his 13th ton following the 124 not out in the third ODI and 54 in the second.
The match had effectively ended by 30 overs, when the Kohli-Rohit partnership of 219 runs was broken.
Kohli’s century (131 – 17x4, 2x6) lifts him to third in the all-time list of ODI centurions. Only Sachin Tendulkar (49) and Ricky Ponting (30) are ahead. But it was all about the sheer force of his performance than statistics.
India still briefly wobbled, but MS Dhoni in his 300th ODI showed there is plenty left of his finishing abilities with a third unbeaten knock (49 no) and an unbroken 101-run stand with Manish Pandey (50 no – 42 balls, 4x4), who marked his recall with his second ODI half-century.
Former skipper Angelo Mathews (70) got his 34th one-day fifty, but the sizeable crowd would not have been convinced Sri Lanka batsmen had the stomach to fight their way out of the current hole they find themselves in.
Shikhar Dhawan fell in the second over and Kohli came and began a breathtaking innings. Young left-arm paceman Vishwa Fernando pitched it up repeatedly only to see the Indian skipper lay into him.
Kohli took 38 deliveries apiece for each fifty. The patent cover drives and wristy flicks were all there. He was unsure only twice, regaining crease after being sent back by Rohit and while awkwardly hooking Lasith Malinga for four to backward square leg.
Sri Lanka, already down 3-0, needed to win the last two games to ensure a direct berth for the 2019 World Cup, but they didn’t remotely seem like challenging India. The sloppy fielding – Hardik Pandya and Dhoni were dropped –made things worse.
It was a big relief for Sri Lanka when Kohli finally lofted Malinga, the stand-in skipper, to deep extra cover. It ended his wait for the 300th ODI wicket, but the 34-year-old returned 1/82 in 10 overs.
Sri Lanka made it 274 for five. Mathews, warming up as a bowler after injuries, had the promoted Hardik Pandya (19) and Rohit (104 – 88 balls, 11 x4, 3x6) caught off successive balls.
Rohit had collected his runs calmly as Kohli imposed himself. Still, there were shots of beauty, a late cut and an inside-out six off debutant left-arm spinner Malinga Pushpakumara standing out.
KL Rahul fell to spinner Akila Dananjaya for the third time in his new role as middle-order batsman in one experiment that hasn’t clicked for India. But like the bowling shuffle, it didn’t matter.
Dhoni, dropped on 25, showed the old firm can help paper over such blemishes against this opposition.
He was the finisher of the innings as well as Sri Lanka’s feeble resistance with a third, unbeaten century stand, this time with Manish Pandey, who grabbed the chance with both hands.
First Published: Aug 31, 2017 14:50 IST