Bulawayo: Riding on a second consecutive century by Rohit Sharrma, India crushed Sri Lanka by 7 wickets, chasing down the target of 243 runs in just 43.3 overs in the league match of the Micromax tri-series at Bulawayo.
India’s successful run-chase was built around a brisk 154 run-partnership between Rohit and Virat Kohli for the third wicket, during which the duo blunted the toothless Sri Lankan attack with effortless ease.
Kohli himself struck a fine 82 runs off 92 balls, missing out on a well-deserved hundred.
Rohit on the otherhand, continued from where he had left against Zimbabwe, with a classy unbeaten 101 off just 100 deliveries, in a knock studded with 6 fours and 2 sixes.
Skipper Suresh Raina, with a breezy 24 not-out off 23 balls, ensured that India completed the formalities in a comprehensive manner.
India’s chase though had started off poorly when Murali Vijay, struggling to replicate his IPL form, delivered another flop performance.
He made just 14 runs. His statemate Dinesh Karthik too could not manage anything better, making just 18 runs.
At 47/2, Rohit and Kohli joined forces.
Sri Lanka make 242 all-out
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 242 runs as Indian bowlers, fresh from a mauling at the hands of Zimbabwe batsmen 48 hours ago, rose to the occasion to dish out disciplined performances.
All the bowlers chipped in with wickets with Ashok Dinda, Pragyan Ojha and Ravindra Jadeja snaring 2 scalps each. Umesh Yadav too managed to pick a wicket while Amit Mishra, though wicketless, with figures of 0/40 from 10 overs, emerged the most economical.
Sri Lankan innings lasted 49.5 overs.
Playing the role of a sheet anchor to the hilt, Angelo Mathews shepherded Sri Lanka towards the competitive total they eventually managed. With boundaries hard to come, sharp ‘singles and doubles’ were the modus operandi for the Sri Lankan vice-captain enroute a half-century, even as some lusty blows from Thissara Parera (32 runs, 23 balls) and Nuwan Kulasekara (19 runs, 14 balls) provided the innings with some late impetus.
Mathews, who himself was slow to start off, held the innings together, ensuring that Sri Lanka remained in hunt for a respectable score despite it’s batsmen struggling.
He though picked up on the scoring rate in the end, before eventually falling for 75 runs (95 balls). He hit 2 fours and as many sixes until his dismissal in the 49th over.
In the morning, following a sedate start, Sri Lanka were 38/1 after 10 overs after India’s stand-in skipper Suresh Raina had won the toss and in lieu of the moist conditions, opted to field first.
Upal Tharanga was the lone success India could manage in this early passage of play when the opener was run out for 1 run in just the second over, before, looking to break the shackles, Samaraweera perished for 19 runs.
Pragyan Ojha reaped gold in his very first over when he deceived Samaraweera with flight, only to have him stumped by an agile Dinesh Karthik.
Two wickets Sri Lanka brought up their 50 in the 14th over.
India enjoyed a lucky break when Tillakaratne Dilshan was run-out for 61 runs, against the run of play. Having batted himself into some form, a moment of hesitation caused him to lose the race to an accurate throw from Rohit Sharma.
His loss left Sri Lanka 97/3, before they brought up their 100 in the 25th over.
He lasted 84 balls, striking 4 fours and a six, forging a 58 run-partnership with Mathews for the third wicket.
Chamara Kapugedera hung around for a scratchy 20 off 48 balls before becoming Ravindra Jadeja had a measure of him.
Mathews presence however ensured that Sri Lankan bowlers had a target to bowl at.
But a mature batting display by Rohit and Kohli ensured a favorable result for India.
M Vijay, KD Karthik†, SK Raina*, V Kohli, RG Sharma, YK Pathan, RA Jadeja, A Mishra, AB Dinda, R Vinay Kumar, U Yadav
WU Tharanga, TM Dilshan*†, LPC Silva, CK Kapugedera, AD Mathews, HDRL Thirimanne, TT Samaraweera, KMDN Kulasekara, S Randiv, NLTC Perera, CRD Fernando