Sri Lanka v India, only T20I, Pallekele August 7, 2012

Kohli and Irfan seal comfortable win


India 155 for 3 (Kohli 68, Raina 34*, Eranga 2-30) beat Sri Lanka 116 (Mathews 31, Dinda 4-19, Irfan 3-27) by 39 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Virat Kohli continued to be imperious, and Irfan Pathan impressed once again, as India completed a successful limited-overs campaign in Sri Lanka with a comfortable win in the only T20 international on the tour. Kohli was in complete command, picking gaps at will, finding boundaries with minimum effort, even off the occasional mistimed shot, and helped take India to 155. Irfan, who found considerable swing, undermined a Sri Lankan fightback with the ball in the death overs by dismissing three senior Sri Lanka batsmen and was backed up by a containing effort by the rest.

The game began brightly for Sri Lanka, with Shaminda Eranga completing a unique achievement; his wicket off Gautam Gambhir meant he's now picked up a wicket in the first over of his debuts in Tests, ODIs and T20 internationals. But Kohli's entry to the crease ensured that early high was short-lived.

Sri Lanka's bowlers targeted the off side, Kohli's preferred areas being through square leg and midwicket, and bowled to their field, but such was his dominance that no part of the ground was secure. A short ball from Angelo Mathews was clubbed over midwicket, a good length delivery next ball was guided through point and Eranga was taken for fours to each part of the off side - point, extra cover and then mid-off, though two of those shots were mistimed.

When Thisara Perera was brought on in the sixth over, he made the mistake of bowling too straight and was promptly struck for three fours in a row, two past short fine leg. His low backlift helped Kohli to adapt easily to deliveries that were pushed in fuller and his wristwork, as always, was his primary weapon. Thirty-six off his first 38 runs came in boundaries.

The introduction of spin after the field restrictions slowed India down, and accounted for Rahane's wicket as he drove one straight back at Jeevan Mendis. Overs nine to 12 yielded only 25, though they included a six and a four from Kohli as he charged out of the crease on each occasion.

Suresh Raina walked in ahead of Rohit Sharma and picked up a couple of neatly-clipped fours off Eranga and Perera through the leg side. Kohli survived a close run-out chance but following a stand of 48, he timed one shot a touch too well, smacking a slower one from Eranga straight to deep midwicket. There were some hits and misses from MS Dhoni that gave him some frustrating moments and even though Raina dispatched Lasith Malinga over long-off, the Sri Lankan seamers were largely accurate in their lengths in the final few overs. Only 31 came off the last five, but India were not made to rue that slip.

Irfan was off target on occasion - his first ball was wide and cut for four - but got the ball to move in through the air and castled Tillakaratne Dilshan in the first over. The ball curved away from the left-handed Upul Tharaga and he chased a wide one in Irfan's next over to be caught at slip. Mahela Jayawardene, who opened the batting, threatened a counter-attack, targeting Umesh Yadav. He used Yadav's pace to guide him for fours through third man and point, then cut and whipped him in the same over to collect 17 runs off it. But his stay, too, was ended by an Irfan inswinger in the fifth over. Jayawardene moved back and closed the face but was struck on the pads just in line with leg stump.

Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews tried to maintain the tempo, stepping out and going over the top and adding 33 in quick time. But Thirimanne's attempt to reverse-sweep a straight ball from R Ashwin failed and cost him his wicket. The run-rate slipped, the pressure grew and wickets continued to tumble. Mathews nicked Ashok Dinda - who also cleaned up the tail to finish with four wickets - to the keeper, Jeevan Mendis spooned a catch to extra cover and Perera was run out by a direct hit from Manoj Tiwary, all in a space of 15 deliveries.

Seven down and with 54 needed off 28, Sri Lanka had to attack and their efforts to do so hastened their end. They'll now look to the Sri Lanka Premier League to sharpen their T20 skills while India await New Zealand before they return to this country for the World T20.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Joe on August 10, 2012, 16:57 GMT

    India were lucky cause Sri Lanka have been playing non-stop Cricket all fluke! ;)

  • karthik on August 10, 2012, 5:53 GMT

    @praveen Hmm.. I am surprised whn u call SRT a "big unfit" player. May b u r thinking abt his age. Well, Lemme tell u. He has one of the safest hands in field. He hardly drops any. He is indeed the best runner between wickets along with Dhoni, Kohli and Raina. Running between the wickets is an art and SRT has mastered it perfectly. He is still quick in the field(chasing the ball). And has gud reflexes while batting. To b honest, he is not athletic on field(he never was). He can't take catches flying, can't throw himself to ground to stop the ball. "Toe injury" is something which can happen to any1(even to debutant). To say that as a proof of being "big unfit" is insane. Rethink abt ur point. "His body is not responding well" - I certainly disagree with this. None other than himself will know abt his body conditions, unless some1 examines it(By external look, he looks perfectly fit). U or myself can't judge that, sitting here. "he played test matches unfit" - 1st time, I'm hearing this.

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    Iam Srilankan and Srilanka has a great Cricket team, but in this ODI Series vs India, Srilanka played some terrible cricket for example TM.Dilshan batted terrible from the 2nd ODI to the 5th ODI and could not help Srilanka in Batting. Also the Srilankan Bowling was Terrible. Virat Kohli batted really well he deserves it. I hope Srilanka reddems them selfs in the 2012 ICC T20 World Cup in Srilanka. From Srilanka Cricket Fan # 1

  • Praveen on August 9, 2012, 12:57 GMT

    @karthik_raja .Okay. I got it now .So you feel that he can pick and choose any game until he can keep himself fit for more important tours and also World cup. That's a valid point.But is Sachin pick and choose policy really helping? It is not. Sachin didn't played WI tour, so that he can play England and Australia tour effectively. Then after England tour, 1 tour is it right. After 1 tour his fitness became a big question mark. Toe injury reverted back in Australia, and he played test matches unfit. So,as you are saying Sachin is leaving matches so he can play effectively other tours. His fitness became big question mark after only 1 tour. So Sachin is playing and as well as not playing when not fit. He says" i can play and i will' but his body is not responding well. He is big unfit player.When playing Unfit he is obstructing youngsters places like this always.Can he make himself match fit and play effectively with his body full of injuries and pain at this age and also field well??

  • Manesh on August 9, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    Pallekele International Cricket Stadium is the so called green track in SL!!!lol...and India won both T20 and ODIs there!...I request SL to prepare these type of tracks for the coming T20 WC too...lets fry SL at home again!

  • Manesh on August 9, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    SL fans argued about white washes before the series. They reminded the Indians about the 8-0 test defeats before the series (even if it is an ODI series!). But they forgot that their team is not Eng or Aus, the pitches are not similar to Eng, Aus conditions. Next time consider all facts before you come-up with an argument! hope SL fans will come-up with some logical arguments next time.

  • Manesh on August 9, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    @KEVINSL.Do you know the difference between T20/ODI and test? If your team can't even beat others in home matches, then how can they beat others in away matches??! SL should learn how play cricket in subcontinent at least! @Dhammika Herat.I am talking about T20. In that ODI, India bowled out under 34 overs and SL achived that score in 20 overs. How can you compare it with a 20 overmatch where teams all out rarely! And just go thru the report of 2nd mach in cricinfo and you will found the difference between bounce and swing! Funny to see SL fan arguing about green pitches in SL! OMG!

  • karthik on August 9, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    @@praveen4honestremark (Cont..) Please check it once again. He played SA in Jan 2011 just b4 the WC and do u know whn was his previous ODI series. It was in Feb 2010. Almost a year ago. Do u knw wt was score in his last ODI?? 200*. Do u know y he skipped all ODIs since then to SA tour.?? To give chance to youngsters and to keep himself fit for upcoming WC. Yes. He skipped all ODI tours for almost a year and played SA tour and WC '2011. And we all knw his record in '11 WC. And obviously the team's record. We won ultimately. There were few who also brought the same point u r bringing now - Team stability/composition etc etc. Bt, we all know wt happened to team composition and stability whn he opened again in ODI. One of the highest scorers in WC and Indian WC win.. To b highlighted - He has been doing this since 2010(more than 2 years) and has not affected team's moral so far. So, on wt basis r u putting forward that point.? Hope I am clear. I am ready for ur next point.

  • karthik on August 9, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    @praveen4honestremark on (August 08 2012, 11:07 AM GMT). Well. nice to see u coming up with some points to prove ur thoughts rather than simply crowing. B4 I reply u, I shud say that I am not much interested in commenting in these kinda forums esp after I realized that its gonna make very little difference among ppl here. Many ppl here r arrogant enuf to not accept(or even consider) others views. Bt, I hv followed few of ur posts and u seems to b sensible except this mindless SRT bashing. So, I thought, If I could succeed in bringing u some respect towards "the most" respected cricketer in the world, I wil b happy enuf..I hv been following cricket since mid 90s and I knw wt SRT is to Indian cricket. Now, I am ready for a healthy argument. Now, back to ur point. First I wud start from a little change in ur post. "and it's been trend from an year for Sachin" - Guess U r talking abt post WC'2011. --- (TBC)

  • Andy on August 8, 2012, 21:43 GMT

    @Kavidu Ushantha Wickramasinghe: I hope u r not joking lol. Series had 1 sri lankan umpire and 1 neutral umpire, so u say all your umpires suck big time too ? Then probably u shamed your nation and tournament as well when u played against Pakistan. Why didn't u have DRS with pak over then ? You are here whining about loses, but u don't comment on ur pak series as u have won ? Double standards at the highest degree.

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