Sri Lanka v India, 1st ODI, Hambantota July 21, 2012

Sehwag, Kohli set up comfortable India win


India 314 for 6 (Kohli 106, Sehwag 96) beat Sri Lanka 293 for 9 (Sangakkara 133, Irfan 2-37, Ashwin 2-46) by 21 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

India hardly looked a side playing their first match in four months. Their batsmen pounded Sri Lanka for a 300-plus total; their bowling, for once, did not fall apart and led by Irfan Pathan, ensured the total was a winning one. Virat Kohli, now easily one of the best ODI batsmen in the world, cracked his third consecutive century against Sri Lanka, his fourth in five innings, and his fifth successive fifty-plus score, equalling the Indian record. Virender Sehwag resembled a man playing his first international game in nearly five months only briefly, before scattering the field with a 97-ball 96. Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni made sure India recovered from a slight wobble, adding 79 in nine overs towards the finish.

Kumar Sangakkara responded with his third century in four international games, also only his second ODI hundred at home, but by the time he got credible support at the other end from No. 8 Thisara Perera, the match had slipped too far out of Sri Lanka's grasp. Perera did give India a scare, smacking 44 off 28 deliveries, but the departure of Sangakkara in the 48th over ended a stand of 78 off 53, and also Sri Lanka's hopes.

India had looked rusty initially, as Sehwag played-and-missed three successive times in Nuwan Kulasekara's opening over. In the second over, he sliced Lasith Malinga straight to point, where Tillakaratne Dilshan put the catch down. In the third over, Gautam Gambhir was almost run-out when he was caught in a big mix-up with Sehwag. It was Dilshan, again, who missed the direct hit from point. Gambhir departed next ball though, bowled round his legs off a straight ball from Kulasekara. Soon enough though, India settled in, Sehwag and Kohli putting the powerful line-up on its way to another big total.

Kohli's arrival immediately brought stability to the middle. He likes to get forward, and did so to defend solidly. One such push even earned him three runs past extra cover. He slashed his third ball for four past point, and Sehwag soon took over.

A Malinga length ball was driven on the up past extra cover, Kulasekara was slammed down the ground. Mahela Jayawardene took out fine leg and put in deep point inside the first Powerplay. Sehwag's response was to drill Angelo Mathews over cover for four more. In the eleventh over, Sehwag, on 24, tried to loft Perera over extra cover but mistimed the stroke. Kulasekara ran in from mid-off and dived forward to take the ball but Sehwag escaped as replays proved inconclusive, as they usually do in such cases. Kulasekara also injured his groin during the attempt, and bowled only five overs. Two balls later, it was Kohli's turn to escape as Perera failed to hold on to a tough return chance to his left. Kohli was on 16 then.

By the time Sri Lanka separated the pair in the 32nd over, they had added 173 at almost a run a ball. It was a furious Sehwag who departed, four short of what would have been his 16th ODI ton, run out by Perera after being sent back by Kohli while attempting a single.

India slipped from 180 for 1 to 228 for 4. Rohit Sharma was late on one that nipped back a bit and lost his off bail, before Kohli fell for 106, also a victim of Perera, caught sharply by substitute Sachithra Senanayake at extra cover in the 40th.

It looked as though Sri Lanka might keep things tidy in the final 10, with Raina and Dhoni picking off only one boundary in four overs. But then they launched, taking 64 off the final six overs - Raina got to a fifty off 44 balls, while Dhoni unleashed his signature helicopter shots - to make sure India got easily past the 300-run mark.

India's opening bowling pair of Zaheer Khan and Irfan generated enough movement in the first Powerplay to keep Sri Lanka to 41 for 1. R Ashwin took over and ensured Sri Lanka did not get away; he even bowled a wicket-maiden in the bowling Powerplay.

As the night grew darker in the forest surrounding the stadium, Sri Lanka's chances began to appear tougher. Sangakkara and Upul Tharanga did add 77 for the second wicket, but the stand ate up 105 balls and by the time the latter fell to Ashwin, the asking rate was approaching seven-and-a-half.

This was after Tillakaratne Dilshan had failed to capitalise, like Virender Sehwag had, on a dropped catch early in his innings. In Zaheer's opening over, Dilshan cracked his first ball for four, edged the second to slip only for Sehwag to clang it, and was out leg-before to his sixth, off Irfan, as he missed an attempted whip.

Sangakkara could have gone second ball, on 0, when he edged an away-going Irfan delivery just past second slip. He should have gone off Umesh Yadav's second ball, in the eleventh over, when he slashed between MS Dhoni and wide slip, but the wicketkeeper did not go for the catch.

Sangakkara struggled to accelerate during the middle of his innings, but he kept Sri Lanka going, even as his team-mates kept falling. No one from No. 1 to No. 7, barring Sangakkara, managed more than 28, falling to the pressure of the asking rate.

Sangakkara's century gave the crowd on the twin grass banks an opportunity to blow their horns louder, but even as he and Perera tried, the game had already blown away from Sri Lanka. To reach 293 from 191 for 6 in the 39th over was, in the end, quite an achievement.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Praveen on July 24, 2012, 3:25 GMT

    @Nampally on (July 23 2012, 13:32 PM GMT)..I agree with your views on Rahul Sharma that he can bowl variations and bowl leg spin.But Rahul Sharma haven't played many first class matches like Ojha did to count his credibility.Also he doesn't have good T20 record compared to Ojha. Please check the stats here. Dhoni is looking for long term too when Ojha selected now, he is even for tests i feel. You can check the stats of both the players and come to conclusion.

  • Asitha on July 23, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    SL openers should be Dilsha & Kapugadara. Also we need Mendis in our team if we want to beat strong teams. Batting order need to change. Perara and Mathiew should bat higher specially when we are chasing 300+ scores and in the next t20 world cup.If the these players fail (Dilshan, Kapugdara,Perara & Mathew) then Sangakara & Mahela can build the innings.

  • Manjunath on July 23, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    @ Harmony111: Dude you are brilliant. Such a lovely narration ! I was late to read all the comments but you made my day! Well done - fellow indian.

  • Praveen on July 23, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    @Nampally on (July 23 2012, 13:32 PM GMT)..Yadav was hammered only in last over very badly by Malinga. It was like match was in our hands there was little complacency shown by Yadav there. Should have bowled little faster and with little more will. He will be told to learn from these mistakes and not to be complacent next time. A mistake nevertheless. But he bowled good till 9th over only costly 60 runs also taking 2 wickets. Dhoni rightly mentioned that death over bowling is to be checked. Even experience player Zaheer got thrashed for 15 runs in death overs. So we should understand that let Yadav develop as a good death bowler too because he has pace, variations and deadly yorkers. So, he is big plus if you continue with him and give him confidence. India's problem right from it entered International arena is that we don't have real fast bowlers touching always 140's through out match. This guy Yadav can do. His body is perfect fast man body. So, let's give him more chances.

  • Ashok on July 23, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    @praveen4honestremark: Yadev has pace but no control on his length & direction. He needs lot more practice in both these aspects. If you look at his record, he has always been an expensive bowler. But 77 runs in 10 overs is rather high for a pace bowler.To be honest, 314 is a big total to chase & SL nearly did it. I expected better control from Ojha but he too gave >7 runs/over. Ashwin & Pathan were both good. That should be the model for the bowlers to aim at. ZAK was too rusty & was very erratic.So there is lot of room for experimenting.Rahul is in the squad for ever but never gets a chance in the XI. I wonder why is he selected in the squad consistently but never play in XI. He must have talent to make the squad so consistently. Try him out. He is a bowler who is economical with fast leg breaks & googlies. If he fails, get a new leg spinner in the squad. There are other spinners like Apanna, Nadeem who are economical & suited for ODI format demands. India needs good bowlers NOW.

  • Perumal on July 23, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Sri Lanka will be Kholi's soft targer always. Expecting amazing unbeatable world records against Lanka (like sachin 200 against SA). Im sure he s going to fry the toothless lions of srilanka throughout his career

  • Praveen on July 23, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    @Nampally .It's too early to assess Yadav and Ojha i feel,don't you think so?? They didn't bowled badly as the stats suggest.Yadav almost got Sanga wicket on 10, but that chance was missed in slips; failed to take that catch. Yadav took 2big wickets of the match,Chandimal and Sanga.With out any real fast bowler do you want India to go there and bowl? Zaheer,Irfan are almost same. Swing bowlers. So if both Zaheer and Pathan same kind, go wicketless what to do? A real fast bowler is always needed in team.Does Dinda has raw pace like Yadav to bowl lethal bowls?.Yes, he was expensive, rusty but we have to give him chances and trust to deliver the same speed at 140's even he goes a few, he will improve.If you remove him it's a huge loss to Indian speed bowling.And coming to Ojha ,he took a big wicket of Mahela ;was expensive too and only bowled 6 overs but it will not be same every game.Ojha will learn.Let's wait till this series on deciding on Ojha. Batting needs change ;Manoj for Rohit.

  • Ravindra on July 23, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    Too Many accumulators in the team. In SL balling line up most of the accumulators want to bat higher, some even want to open the innings in T20. Its time to give more aggressive batsmen like Banuka and Kapugadra a opportunity to bat higher

  • Praveen on July 23, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    @Ameeega on (July 23 2012, 02:44 AM GMT)..Thank you man. Fair comment from you but not for all of your comment. We would like to win trophy :) :P

  • Amal on July 23, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    As a SL fan, i congratulate Indians here. I am really amazed this young man, Kohli. SL should need to start thinking how to stop him. He is the real threat. And also, I feel shame of some SL fans finding some 'third class' excuses. We should accept, SL played bad, Ind did really well. And for the people criticizing Sanga, I would say, if Sanga did not do that, SL might have lost by 100 runs! Love to see SL bounce back, as in the Pak series, and lift the trophy.

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