Match report: SL v Ind – 4th ODI
Colombo, Jul 31: Virat Kohli hit an unbeaten century (128) and Manoj Tiwary took four for 61 as India beat Sri Lanka to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series. After Tiwary’s four-wicket haul helped restrict the hosts to 251, Virat Kohli’s second century of the series helped India to win with six wickets to spare.
India opted to play the extra batsman in this match with Manoj Tiwary coming in place of Rahul Sharma. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were forced to play Lahiru Thirimanne instead of the injured Kumar Sangakkara. The other change made by the hosts was that Nuwan Pradeep replaced Isuru Udana in the playing eleven.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, the Sri Lankan innings had a good start but lost momentum at the end to finish at a slightly below par score. Upul Tharanga (51) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (42) put on 91 for the first wicket before falling in quick succession to each other. Lahiru Thirimanne survived a dropped catch from Virat Kohli and, together with Dinesh Chandimal, took the hosts past the 150-run mark in the 32nd over.
It was here that Manoj Tiwary made his presence felt in the game, but in the role of a bowler. Tiwary, bowling his innocuous legbreaks, picked up the wickets of Chandimal (28), Angelo Mathews (14), Jeevan Mendis (17) and Thisara Perera (2) to derail the good work done by the Lankan top order. And when Thirimanne (47) was bowled by R Ashwin in the 47th over, Sri Lanka, then at 219 for eight in 47 overs, appeared to be folding for under 250.
Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath, however, had some fun at Tiwary’s expense in the last over. They smote the Indian part-time bowler for 18 runs with both batsmen hitting a six each over cow corner to push Sri Lanka’s score up to 251 in 50 overs. Tiwary, nonetheless, finished with his best bowling figures of 10-1-61-4.
Chasing 252 to wrap-up the series, the Indian openers failed to put on a good opening stand for the fourth game in a row. Gautam Gambhir (0) found his stumps shattered by a swinging yorker from Lasith Malinga in the very first over. Virender Sehwag was his usual blustery self during his 29-ball 34, but was caught at short cover in the 10th over, shortly after India had raised the 50-run mark. Rohit Sharma (4) and Manoj Tiwary (21) were both trapped lbw as the hosts reduced the visitors to 109 for four in 29.4 overs.
But India didn’t stumble thereafter. With Virat Kohli in sublime nick and Suresh Raina leading a charmed life (dropped on 19), the visitors tore the Lankan attack to shreds. Nuwan Pradeep was hit for 14 in the 37th over while Thisara Perera was smashed for a couple of fours and a six in the 39th over to take India past the 200-run mark in the 39th over. Kohli even brought up his 13th ODI hundred; the fastest by any player in just 89 matches with a boundary off Lasith Malinga.
Kohli and Raina didn’t take too long to get done with the formalities. After Nuwan Pradeep dropped Kohli when he was on 100, the Indian batsman hit Rangana Herath for four boundaries in the 42nd over as India won with 46 balls to spare. Raina remained unbeaten on 58 while Kohli was 128 not-out to register India 400th ODI win.
The final match of the series will be played at the Pallekele Stadium in Kandy on August 4.
Brief scores: India 255/4 in 42.2 overs (Virat Kohli 128*, Suresh Raina 58*, Angelo Mathews 1/18) beat Sri Lanka 251/8 in 50.0 overs (Upul Tharanga 51, Lahiru Thirimanne 47, Manoj Tiwary 4/61) by six wickets
Man-of-the-match: Virat Kohli for his sublime unbeaten century that helped India clinch the series.