India vs Sri Lanka | Virat Kohli century leads India to another series whitewash

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India vs Sri Lanka | Virat Kohli century leads India to another series whitewash

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SportsCafe Desk


Virat Kohli’s yet another century in a run chase and a patient half-century by Kedar Jadhav helped India beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets and thus whitewashing the hosts 5-0. Earlier, a five-wicket haul by Bhuvneshwar Kumar restricted the Lankans for a paltry 238, which eventually proved to be short.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 238/10 (Lahiru Thirimanne 67, Angelo Mathews 55; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 5/42, Jasprit Bumrah 2/45) lost to India 239/3 (Virat Kohli 110*, Kedar Jadhav 63; Wanindu Hasarang 1/29, Lasith Malinga 1/35) by 6 wickets.

The hosts decided to bat first once again keeping the cloud cover and the possibility of rain later in the evening in mind. While India made four changes to their playing XI, Sri Lankan skipper Upul Tharanga made a comeback to the team in place of Kusal Mendis, who was given a break.

Mathews, Thirimanne bail Sri Lanka out of the woods

Tharanga, making a return to the team after a two-match suspension, got his rhythm back in the very first over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and followed it up with another boundary over extra cover off Shardul Thakur. However, Bhuvneshwar - India’s swing master when the conditions are favourable - gave India their first breakthrough in the third over by disguising the knuckle ball pretty well. The Lankans made the full use of the fielding restrictions as Tharanga continued his rampage despite losing Dilshan Munaweera to Bhuvneshwar for 4 when the score at 40. Tharanga kept attacking Bumrah basically, but in the 10th over, Bumrah’s awkward angle extracted a faint nick off his blade and MS Dhoni was alert to gobble that up. Tharanga had scored 48 of the 63 runs Sri Lanka had on the board. After Tharanga’s dismissal, Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne tried hard to bail their team out of the woods. Mathews played Bumrah's testing spell efficiently at the start and even though Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav gaining sufficient turn off the wicket, the experienced duo batted their way out of trouble taking the home side to 130/3 at the half-way mark of the innings.

Bhuvneshwar five-for triggers another Lankan collapse

In the 28th over of the innings, Thirimanne finally hit the first six of the innings when he stepped out of his crease against Chahal and in the 31st over, he brought up his half-century off 83 balls. Mathews soon completed his second successive half-century off 80 balls as their century stand became the highest for any wicket for the hosts in this series and the team were well placed at 181 for 3 after 38 overs. However, the pendulum started to swing suddenly after that as one wicket led to another as both set batsmen fell in quick succession. Bhuvneshwar was the wrecker-in-chief as he induced an inside edge that shattered the stumps of Thirimanne and soon after, Mathews attempted a scoop that took the top edge. MS Dhoni’s game awareness gifted India the wicket of Wanidu Hasaranga and the hosts lost three wickets for only 20 runs that turned the table completely in India’s favour. Dhoni effected his 100th stumping in ODI cricket in the process, becoming the first man in the ODI cricket history to achieve the feat. Sri Lanka lost all their wickets only for 238 runs to give India another fair and easy chance to clean sweep the series.

Kohli resurrects Indian innings - usual, usual

India faced a terrible start in the fifth and final ODI of the series as Ajinkya Rahane, who featured for the first time in the series, failed to make this opportunity count as Lasith Malinga got his wicket in the 5th over of the game. Rohit Sharma also failed to repeat his last match show as Vishwa Fernando sent him back to send India to a precarious situation. At the end of the first powerplay, India managed 53 runs and lost two wickets with Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey on the crease. The duo started to build a partnership by rotating the strike and took India to 79/3 at the end of 16 overs. In the next four overs the duo added 21 more runs as the score reached 100 at the end of the 20th over. Sri Lankan bowlers tried to put pressure on the Indian batsman through their controlled bowling. Kohli targeted Milinda Siriwardana especially and completed his half century by sending his first ball for four. At the end of the 25th over, India reached 128/2 and were comfortably placed to win the game.

Kohli, Jadhav ensure six-wicket victory for India

On the first ball of the 26th over, Pushpakumara gave the hosts their much-needed breakthrough dismissing Pandey for 36. In the next five overs, Kohli, along with new batsman Kedar Jadhav added 19 runs which helped to take India’s score to 147/3 at the end of 30 over. Kohli didn’t try to hit more boundaries as he kept rotating the strike with the 32-year-old. Hasaranga came to bowl the 34th over where he conceded nine runs which included two boundaries. With India needing only 61 more runs to seal the series 5-0, Jadhav took one more run in Malinga’s delivery to complete his ODI half century and Kohli, after a few jittery moments, completed his 30th ODI century as well. While India were all set to secure a seven-wicket victory, Hasaranga got the better of the Maharashtra pocket dynamite, which resulted in Dhoni entering the arena to give the finishing touch. While the stage was all set for a Dhoni special finishing six, the former skipper decided to take a single and give Kohli the chance to finish off the game and he did by taking a single to mid off to give India a historic series whitewash.  

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