As if the Sri Lankans hadn’t received enough beating already, the misery in the series just worsened in the 4th ODI in Colombo. Virat Kohli and his men were ruthless as before, if not more, as they enforced yet another one-sided victory to go 4-0 up with a game to go. Once again, there was only one team that was playing to win.
Having the series already in the bag, India decided to make 3 changes and gave the opportunities to the players who had been warming the benches thus far. Kohli won the toss and to break the pattern, elected to bat first this time on a pitch that had loads of runs on offer.
Kohli-Rohit on the charge
Shikhar Dhawan departed early once again when he was removed by Vishwa Fernando for just 4. But the joy for the hosts didn’t last long as Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli went after the bowling big time. The duo didn’t give even a sniff to the opposition and especially, Kohli went absolutely berserk and smashed some breathtaking strokes.
Rohit initially played second fiddle to his skipper but cashed in on any loose deliveries. It was absolute carnage at the Premadasa and a classy show was on the display by the duo. Kohli brought up his fifty off just 38 balls in the 11th over and his partner reached there in the 19th over off 45 balls.
The partnership reached 50, 100, 150, 200 in no time and the skipper brought up his 29th ODI hundred off just 76 balls in the 25th over. It felt as if he was well on his way to score a double hundred as even after getting to 3 figures, he didn’t change his approach. But in the 30th over, he struck a wide delivery from Lasith Malinga straight to sweeper cover fielder and had to leave for 131 off 96 balls that included 17 fours and 2 sixes. That was Malinga’s 300th ODI wicket and what better than Kohli for the landmark.
Rohit soon brought up his century off 85 balls in the 35th over. Just when he was preparing to unleash himself, he edged one to the keeper off Angelo Mathews’s bowling for 104 off 88 balls with 11 fours and 3 sixes. A delivery before that, Mathews had accounted for the wicket of Hardik Pandya for 19 who was promoted to No.4.
A slight collapse undone by Dhoni-Pandey
KL Rahul, who was batting at No.5, fell to Akila Dananjaya for just 7 and threw away another opportunity to score. India were in a slight spot of bother at 274/5 as more than 12 overs were still remaining. The cool-head MS Dhoni who was playing his 300th ODI once again brought calmness to the proceedings.
Along with Manish Pandey, he first maneuvered the bowlers around for singles and then went on to up the ante at the death. The duo batted beautifully and collected 91 runs in the last 10 overs to power India to a massive 375. Pandey scored 50 off 42 balls where Dhoni stayed unbeaten at 49 off 42 balls.
The same old story repeated itself
Chasing a huge score, Sri Lanka needed a good start to lay the platform but once again, they lost early wickets. Niroshan Dickwella was removed by the debutant Shardul Thakur, Kusal Mendis was run out by KL Rahul and Dilshan Munaweera fell to Jasprit Bumrah as the hosts struggled at 37/3 after 8 overs.
Lahiru Thirmanne too couldn’t hold the fort for long and was dismissed by Hardik Pandya. Angelo Mathews and Milinda Siriwardana added 73 runs for the 5th wicket but the scoring rate was too slow and there was no urgency to catch up with the required rate.
Pandya came back to pick up the wicket of Siriwardana when he nicked one to Dhoni for 39 in the 29th over. From then on, it was Mathews alone who scored a few and the tail-enders kept rushing back to the pavilion. Mathews’s stay was ended by Axar Patel for 70 in the 38th over.
Things were wrapped up pretty soon by Kuldeep Yadav and Bumrah as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 207 in the 43rd over. India won the match by a massive margin of 168 runs and enlarged their lead to 4-0 with a solitary game to be played at the same venue on Sunday.
India won the toss and opted to bat first
India: 375/5 in 50 overs
Virat Kohli 131, Rohit Sharma 104
Angelo Mathews 24/2
Sri Lanka: 207/10 in 42.4 overs
Angelo Mathews 70
Kuldeep Yadav 31/2, Jasprit Bumrah 32/2
India won by 168 runs
Player of the match: Virat Kohli