India ride on Kohli ton to set up series win against listless Lanka
The Lankans has missed a big opportunity to earn a series lead by gifting away the third ODI and to make matters worse, the injury to Kumar Sangakkara meant that he was left out of the series. Nevertheless, Mahela Jayawardena seemed pretty confident when he came out for the toss and on winning it again, in spite of all the stats and what happened in the previous game, chose to bat. Lahiru Thirimanne had come in for Sangakkara while Nuwan Pradeep replaced the out of sorts Isuru Udana. India made the sole change, replacing Rahul Sharma with Manoj Tiwary. It was a memorable occasion for the Lankans as it was the 250th game in the Island nation.
The batsmen got off to a slow but steady start, reaching 45 in the Quick Start Overs. The Lankans surprised everyone by taking Powerplay 3 in the 16th over but it did not prove much fruitful. They scored just 35 runs in those 5 overs and also lost Tillakaratne Dilshan as the opening partnership folded up on 91.
Upul Tharanga departed immediately after reaching his 50 and Powerplay 2 was even worse for the Lankans, gaining just 22 runs for the loss of a wicket. Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal anchored the ship with a 50-run stand for the third wicket but then Dhoni made a terrific gamble. He brought on Manoj Tiwary and it immediately paid rich dividends.
Tiwary stuck in his first over to get rid of Chandimal and ran through the middle order, picking up 4 wickets overall as the Lankans struggled to play the spinners on a slow track. They lost their way and in the Extreme Performance Overs, managed just 66/4, 18 of which, came in the last over of the innings which was given to Tiwary. Upul Tharanga top scored with 51 and a Batting Momentum of 56 while Manoj Tiwary was the pick of the bowlers by a long margin - 4/61 and the best Bowling Efficiency of 176.
Have a look at the scorecard.
Lasith Malinga got Sri Lanka off to a perfect start as he cleaned up Gambhir for a duck in the very first over. This was the 18th time in ODIs that Malinga had dismissed a batsman for a duck.
Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli then helped the side recover, adding 50 runs for the second wicket before a stunning catch by substitute Sachithra Senanayake to dismiss Sehwag brought them back. The Indians were well placed at 52/2 in the Quick Start Overs. Rohit Sharma was sent back to the pavilion by debutant Nuwan Pradeep, LBW and now India were in some trouble.
Manoj Tiwary then came out to the middle and played some counter-attacking strokes which forced Jayawardena to go on the defensive. Powerplay 2 went for 31 runs and the Indians seemed back on track when Jeewan Mendis trapped Tiwary LBW and the visitors were back in trouble. But that was the end of the fun for Sri Lanka. For, Suresh Raina came out to the middle.
The duo of Kohli and Raina were given plenty of let offs and they took full toll. They blasted 55 runs in Powerplay 3 and cruised to victory in the 43rd over as India made a mincemeat of the target, winning by 6 wickets. Kohli made an unbeaten 128 with a Batting Momentum of 189 while Raina too, played well for his 58 runs. The bowling was unimpressive from Sri Lanka apart from Angelo Mathews who picked up 1/18 in 6 overs with a Bowling Efficiency of 154.
Sri Lanka finished with a Castrol Index of 41, 12 behind India. The Lankans could only win the department of the Quick Start Overs.
Virat Kohli was named the Man Of The Match and he comfortably finished as the best performer of the game with 81 points. For Sri Lanka, Angelo Mathews was the best bet with a value of 42.
The fifth and final ODI will be played at Pallekele on Saturday, 4th August , 2012 at 0900 GMT.