"Can Virat Kohli surpass Sachin Tendulkar's record someday", is a thread statistically baised Indians have actively participated in since it was started early last year. So far, Virat has stayed committed but none of his innings was as thrilling as was his unbeaten 133 off just 86 balls today, chasing down Sri Lanka's 320 miraculously in just 36.4 overs and keeping Indian hopes alive for a berth in best of three final..
Kohli scored his 9th ODI century, adding two century stands with Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina, both at a rate better than run a ball, after Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag took blue team off to a rocket start. Double century partnership between Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara went wasted as Lasith Malinga conceded 96 runs off just 7.4 overs, allowing Indians a bonus point, delaying their flight back home.
The curators of Bellerive Oval pitch must also be praised. they had layed down the perfect 22 yards for this asian show down. Sadly, there were just over three thousand spectators around to appriciate the day when bat truely dominated the ball. India, who've beaten Sri Lankans twice, lost once and tied once in this tri-series, will now hope for home team Australia to win last league game and invite them into final to defend the title they won four years ago. here's how the story unfolded.
The scoresSri Lanka 320 for 4 wkts in 50 ovs (Dilshan 160*, Sangakkara 105, Jadeja 1/43).
India 321 for 3 wkts in 36.4 ovs (Kohli 133*, Gambhir 63, Raina 40*, Malinga 1/96)
Full scorecard : India v Sri Lanka, tri-series game 11 at Hobart : 28 Feb 2012.
10 times unluckly with the toss out of 13 matches on this Australia tour so far, today flick of coin favored Indians and captain MS Dhoni had no hesitation electing to field first, hoping to restrict Lankans to a moderate total and then chase it down inside 40 overs to gain that crucial bonus point. As it turned out, despite some smart swing bowling from Praveen Kumar and Zaheer Khan with the new ball, in-form openers Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan got off to a start, collecting 49 runs before Ravindra Jadeja made the break-through in his first over.
Kumar Sangakkara joined Dilshan and there started a partnership Indians had no answer to. left-right had combination pierced the gaps at will, fetched fours and lofted sixes off every poor ball delivered to them. They called for batting powerplay but played that tactically too, not losing their heads but concentrating on accelerating the run rate. Sangakkara didn't last too long after raising his century but Dilshan, despite a finger injury, continued, equaling his highest score which had also come against Indians.
It was match referee whose presence of mind got Indian chase on the way as electricity failed for almost an hour at Hobart ground. Referee Chris Broad was intent on keeping the game going till sunlight faded away but we got the power back just in time. Meanwhile, Virender Sehwag blazed his way to five fours and a six in his 16 ball stay while Sachin Tendulkar was using his Mumbai Indians experience to dismantle Lasith Malinga. 54 runs for the opening stand, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli mixed caution with aggression to perfection in their 115 run stand and then Suresh Raina took over.
With match within striking range and century already raised, Virat Kohli showed his true colors blasting Lasith Malinga to all parts of the ground and finishing the match with more than 13 overs remaining.
Fastest 300+ target chase
now belongs to India, overhauling 321 in 36.4 overs. Previously, Sri Lankans held the record with their 324/2 in 37.2 against England at Leeds on 1 July 2006. Openers Sanath Jayasuriya (152) and Upul Tharanga (109) were the architect.
Most runs conceded in an ODI
is a record held by Mick Lewis of Australia who gave away 113 runs to South Africans in that greatest ODI (438). Today, Malinga went for 96 in his 7.4 overs which is now the most expensive spell of more than 5 overs in an ODI by a bowler.