Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey guide India to unique sweep vs Sri Lanka
India achieved a unique 9-0 cleansweep in the Sri Lanka away tour as Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey guided the Men in Blue to a seven wicket win over the hosts in the one-off T20.Updated: Sep 06, 2017 23:35 IST
Virat Kohli stole the thunder again with a brilliant 82 to steer India to victory in the one-off Twenty20 game against Sri Lanka on Wednesday, signing off the tour with a perfect 9-0 victory margin across formats. (HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD)
The Indian skipper’s 54-ball knock with seven fours and a six, after back-to-back centuries (131 and 110 not out) in the last two ODI wins at the R Premadasa Stadium, sealed the game by seven wickets.
Virat Kohli fell nine runs from victory, caught off a tired flick to deep midwicket, but Sri Lankan hopes of a face-saving win was dashed by then.
He braved fatigue to share a 119-run third wicket partnership with Manish Pandey, who hit the winning four to be unbeaten on 51.
India reached 174 for three in 19.2 overs in reply to Sri Lanka’s 170 for seven after Kohli won the toss and elected to bowl. The game was delayed by 40 minutes due to rain in the day.
Sri Lanka were guided to a challenging total by Dilshan Munaweera, who struck a 29-ball 53 (5x4, 4x6) and Ashan Priyanjan, who was 40 not out (40 b) after coming in as Milinda Siriwardana’s injury replacement.
But Virat Kohli, who completed a rare all-win tour as skipper, left thousands of home fans disappointed with another brilliant effort. It was his third half-century on the tour to go with three centuries.
The familiar figure of Virat Kohli arrived in the third over after Rohit Sharma fell for nine. KL Rahul, who flopped thrice in the middle-order in the ODIs, looked assured after being restored to the opener’s slot.
Rahul (24 – 18 b, 3x4) was brilliantly caught by Dasun Shanaka off spinner Seekuge Prasanna, but Manish Pandey played the perfect support role to the skipper.
Virat Kohli seemed to suffer from cramp -- he unusually asked for drinks a few times – playing a long knock for the third game in a row, and doing plenty of hard running.
He slapped Prasanna over long-on for six and hit Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews for fours to reach his fifty (30 balls, 5x4) to restore momentum to the Indian innings.
It left India requiring 38 runs in the last five overs.
Spin strangles Sri Lanka
After struggling to even compete against India in the Tests and ODIs, Sri Lankan batsmen played with some freedom in the shortest version.
At 90 for three at the halfway mark, Sri Lanka would have hoped to reach 200. However, brilliant bowling by the spin trio pegged them down to a much smaller total.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav confounded the batsmen with his variations, finishing with a superb two for 20. Leg spinner Yuzhvendra Chahal came back strongly after being hit to claim three for 43 while left-arm Axar Patel (0/30) was steady.
The three together gave away only 93 runs in 12 overs.
Sri Lankan opener Niroshan Dickwella (17) was bowled trying an improvised off-stump flick against Jasprit Bumrah after skipper Upul Tharanga was bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Although Munasweera and later Priyanjan attacked the bowling, the spinners ensured Sri Lanka’s innings would only be a stop-start affair.