Sri Lanka v India, 4th ODI, Colombo July 31, 2012

Kohli and Raina lead India to series win


India 255 for 4 (Kohli 128*, Raina 58*) beat Sri Lanka 251 for 8 (Tharanga 51, Tiwary 4-61) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Virat Kohli was once again the architect of a successful Indian chase, one that clinched the ODI series for India - they took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match competition. Kohli anchored India's response to 251, and was helped along by Suresh Raina, who struck his third half-century of the series, each of which came in an India win. Both had their moments of fortune, just when Sri Lanka had fought their way back, but once set, they approached the target confidently, never allowing the required-rate to go above six and often being imperious in their shot-making. A game that promised to be close at one point eventually produced a comprehensive winner.

Sri Lanka had edged ahead when Manoj Tiwary was trapped in front trying to sweep Jeevan Mendis to make it 109 for 4. Kohli had survived a run-out chance when on 19 and after he lost Tiwary, it was Raina who went through some jitters. An appeal for caught-behind was turned down when on 2, a run-out was missed when he was on 19 and Mahela Jayawardene dropped a sitter at slip two balls later. Kohli then survived a close shout for lbw while on 77, and was put down after his century - though, by then, India's task was all but complete. Sri Lanka's fielding, though occasionally impressive, was below-par for the bulk of the game - they leaked at least 11 runs in overthrows.

Those lapses could have been decisive but were rare incidents of discomfort for the two batsmen. On a track favourably disposed to batting, such moments of anxiety were easy to put behind, as both Kohli and Raina drove assuredly through the line, used their feet well against spin and found it easy to step up and go over the top when a victory seemed within striking distance. Kohli played the supporting role when Virender Sehwag was going strong, was an equal contributor in a rebuilding stand with Tiwary and took the lead in the company of Raina. The transition from one role to the other was seamless.

Kohli began his innings with an audacious pull off Lasith Malinga but in a partnership of 49 with Tiwary, after India were 60 for 3, struck just one boundary. Both ran well between the wickets, pressing for twos with the field spread out and Tiwary appeared to be in the groove, flicking a couple of fours through the leg side. His first batting stint this series was preceded by the loss of Sehwag and Rohit Sharma in quick succession. Sehwag, after appearing set for a long knock, was caught smartly at extra cover off a leading edge and Rohit, nervous from the outset and fighting for his place in the XI, was lbw when playing across to debutant seamer Nuwan Pradeep. The umpire's call to double-check for a no-ball only prolonged his anxiety, but he knew soon he'd fluffed another chance.

Raina was shaky to begin with but a generous dose of length deliveries gave him several opportunities to free up. After being dropped, he gradually settled in by picking off singles as Kohli was becoming increasingly dominant at the other end and eventually, in the batting Powerplay, accelerated with a sliced boundary over point off Pradeep before dispatching him for a straight six. At the start of that over, India needed 78 off 14 overs. After Raina had kick-started India's race to the finish, Kohli made the rest of the innings a one-man show.

With the fielding restrictions still on, Kohli entered the nineties, smacking Thisara Perera over midwicket, followed by a six over the sightscreen. He reached his 13th ODI century with a pull off Malinga before thrashing Rangana Herath to different parts of the ground for four fours in an over to all but seal the game. Extra cover, square leg and deep midwicket were his preferred scoring areas, the bowlers having no answers against his powerful, and skilful, wristwork.

Though Sri Lanka finished on a high in their innings, they would, presumably, have fallen short of their desired score after choosing to bat. India's decision to leave out a frontline bowler in Rahul Sharma - instead of the struggling Rohit - to make way for Tiwary raised eyebrows but, as it turned out, Tiwary played a crucial role in restricting the hosts.

Dinesh Chandimal was going along fluently but his knock was cut short when he swung a Tiwary long hop straight to deep square leg. The innings began to stagnate when Jayawardene miscued a sweep off Sehwag shortly after and India's part-timers proved so effective that Zaheer Khan, their best bowler, bowled just six overs. Angelo Mathews consumed 32 deliveries for his 14 before holing out, Mendis was bowled playing the reverse-sweep and Perera was caught in the deep - all off Tiwary. This slide undermined an opening stand of 91 between Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga, and India's non-regular bowlers picked up five wickets in 22 overs, conceding 112. Tiwary was an unlikely bowling hero for India; the stars with the bat had already built a solid reputation.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prashan on August 3, 2012, 0:26 GMT

    @praveen4honestremark, balls pitching outside off can be given LBW as long as the ball hits the pads in line. So Kohli got a big reprieve due to an umpiring howler along with Raina I am afraid. Had DRS been there, we would have been the winners.

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2012, 23:15 GMT

    All bowlers have poor record against Ind and all batsmen have great record against Ind bcz Indian batting is the world's best and Indian bowling is world's worst.............There is false perception that the pitches on which India play are batting friendly but the fact is that on the same pitches the avg scores in Indian matches are 50 runs per inning higher compared to non Indian team matches.

  • Andy on August 2, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    come on cricinfo team close this comments box, this article has done its course, other than bashing nothing is happening over here.

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    Sri Lankan middle order shown poor batting display at last few games.but there were no changes.poor captaincy.

  • Prashan on August 2, 2012, 16:24 GMT

    @Last_ride, yes SA are the most consistent side lately. You all have not lost an away test series since you all last toured Sri Lanka in 2006. Looking forward to you all coming to Sri Lanka in July next year as per the ICC FTP. I know 4 out of our 5 test wins against SA have been at home and that the last time you all came to our shores, we won 2-0 but next year will not be like 2006 as SA are far more improved.

  • Udara on August 2, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    @Nampally, It is true that the ball pitched outside off stump. no arguements there. But the impact was in the line of middle stump not in the line of leg stump.see the replay. And the ball was rising, point taken. But to say there was six feet from the stumps to the position of impact is ridiculus. Because the batsman was on the backfoot and well within the batting crease and the ball hit him in the backfoot . So how on earth, the distance between batting crease to the stumps being 4 feet, could there be 6 feet altogether for the ball to travel. And according to hawk eye the ball was not clipping the top of leg it was hitting the top of leg. May be you better watch the replay again.

  • Perumal on August 2, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    @Mahanama. I understand tht u r really frustrated after srilanka suffering terrible defeat. Dont expect too much from your team when they are playing against india. Its really tough task for the lankans to win india.. Yeah india was defeated badly in the second ODI but look at the come back man.... they have won the series in ur home ground. Indians have responded in the own way for that defeat. Thats what makes us champions. and i also see that lankan cricketer still didnt recover from their world cup defeat. Srilanka perforning in foreign is different task. First let them perform in their own soil. But i appreciate your confidence level (though insane) to speak as if it was Srilanka who won the series

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    Mahaanama, Indian Bowlers with weakest bowling gave 320 runs , what abt srilanka then? boasting of kula , mala and others? had full 50 overs been bowled, India would have scored over 500 against your bowlers, which shows, Lanka has the weakest bowling unit of all Discussion closed for ever dont speak of murali and vaas, Learn from Carribeans who NEVER Ev er rant of Dominating opposition when They were strong

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    i told d lankans.........once u bleed and ind smells...........den nthng can stop them

  • Rakitha on August 2, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    @Eat_sleep_play_cricket: Dude I'm surprised by your comments. Why are you still talking about India chasing 321 runs in 37 overs. The reason why Indians had to chase down such a big target was SL still managed to put 321 runs though they lost the match. Don't you remember SL chased down Indian total in just 19.5 overs few days ago ? lol. In terms of number of balls remaining the most shameful defeat in ODI history is India losing to SL when 209 balls still remaining. SL did far better than India outside the home soil last year. Yes we were allout for 43 runs in the 1st match in SA but still managed to beat SA in 2 ODIs & SL could have even won the ODI series as they had the edge by the time rain arrived in the 3rd ODI. SL also beat SA in SA in the 2nd test. SL also defeated Australia in Australia several times last year. SL didn't do as bad as India in England though rain interrupted some matches. SL have never lost 8 consecutive away tests since SL got test status.

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