Guwahati: Virat Kohli’s 45th ODI century and captain Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill fifties powered India to a 67-run victory over Sri Lanka in the first game and 1-0 lead in the three-match series at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium here.
An opening stand of 143 between Gill, who made 70 off 60 and Rohit, who smashed 83 off 67 balls, put India into ascendancy early and set the tone for a big total. Then Kohli smacked his second consecutive ODI century, 113 off 87 balls, making the most out of two reprieves while hitting 12 fours and a six for India to make an improbable 373/7.
In reply, Sri Lanka made 306/8, with Shanaka’s 88-ball 102 coming too late after opener Pathum Nissanka made 72 off 80 balls. Young tearaway pacer Umran Malik picked figures of 3/57, while Mohammed Siraj scalped an impressive 2/30. Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Hardik Pandya had a wicket each as the hosts’ now have 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
On a flat pitch with a lightning fast outfield, Kohli was initially watchful. He then got his first two boundaries by stylishly driving off his wrists against Shanaka and when Wanindu Hasaranga dropped short, he was quick to go on backfoot and whipped through mid-wicket for a brace of boundaries.
He had some serious timing in his drives, like driving on a length ball outside the off-stump off debutant Dilshan Madushanka run through the fast outfield for a boundary. He was magical in whips off wrists, like the one which went over mid-wicket for six and got him his fifty.
Kohli was in imperious touch, picking slower deliveries with ease and ramping short balls over keeper’s head while maintaining the balance between front foot and back foot strokeplay and earned reprieves when his catches were dropped on 52 and 81.
Soon, he got his second hundred at the venue off 80 balls, punching the air in delight and getting a roaring applause from the crowd. After picking two more boundaries, Kohli fell when his slog-sweep off Kasun Rajitha brought out a top-edge and was caught by the keeper, bringing an end to a spectacular knock.
Australia name four spinners for India Test tour
Sydney: Australia’s national cricket selectors on Wednesday selected a four-man spin arsenal for the upcoming four-Test tour of India with rookie spinner Todd Murphy making the grade on the back of some superb performances at the domestic level and for Australia A.
Murphy joins experienced campaigner Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson as potential spin partners for Nathan Lyon on a tour on which their bowling resources are expected to be stretched to the full.
Agar has recently made it back to the Test squad and played the third and final Test against South Africa and continues to be preferred as the national selectors confirmed an 18-player squad for the four-Test Border-Gavaskar series.
Swepson had played four of Australia’s five Tests on the subcontinent last year for a return of 10 wickets at 45 and was favoured over white-ball leg-spinner Adam Zampa.
The Australian men’s team will play Test matches in Nagpur, New Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad in February/March. A squad for three one-day internationals will be announced at a later date.