Colombo, Jul 31: Colombo, Jul 31: Virat Kohli (128) and Suresh Raina's (58) unbeaten knock helped India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets to clinch the series 3-1 in the 4th ODI at Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Indian vice-captain Kohli (128) scored an unbeaten ton which proved to be the difference between the two sides yet again, along with Raina's unbeaten half-century, his third in the series. The pair guided India to a comfortable six-wicket victory after the Lankans fought back with the dismissal of Manoj Tiwary (21).
Chasing a target of 252, India got off to a miserable start as Gautam Gambhir (0) was bowled out in the opening over by pacer Lasith Malinga. Opener Virender Sehwag (44-ball 36) and Kohli added a brisk 52-run partnership before substitute Senanayake took a diving catch off Angelo Mathews to dismiss the dangerous Sehwag.
Out-of-form Rohit Sharma (4) continued his poor stint in the series as Nuwan Pradeep got him trapped in the 13th over. Manoj Tiwary (21) failed to show his heroics with the bat after impressing with a four-wicket haul. Jeevan Mendis trapped the right-hand batsman leaving India in a precarious condition.
But it wasn't the end of the road for India as Kohli and Raina racked up an unbeaten 146-run stand for the fifth wicket. Kohli, who guided India to victory in the first ODI at Hambantota, proved to be the match winner yet again anchoring his innings right from the first over. Kohli smashed 12 boundaries and a six to end up scoring a 119-ball 128 along with Raina who scored his third fifty in the series. The left-hander played the supporting role hitting 58 off 78 balls with four boundaries and a six.
Sri Lanka Innings Report
After conceding 45 runs in the mandatory powerplay, India skipper MS Dhoni introduced part-timers Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Manoj Tiwary who actually responded to their captain's call giving the team the much needed breakthroughs as they dismissed Chandimal (28), Mathews (14) and Jayawardene (3).
Apart from the openers Tillakaratne Dilshan (42) and Upul Tharanga (51) who added 91 runs for the first wicket, no other pair added more than 50 runs (Chandimal- Thirimanne for the 3rd wicket)
With Dhoni's strategy working wonders, India did reduce the number of runs conceded in the last ten overs to 66 runs, which is a remarkable comeback given India's bowling stats in 2012, which suggests India has conceded 7.72 in the last ten overs in the calendar year.
Manoj Tiwary who made a comeback to ODI fold after being benched for a couple of months now, showed how important his inclusion was, by picking up 4 wickets which literally stopped the Lankans from scoring big on a flat track.
The leg-spinner swap actually worked for Dhoni, as he wanted to retain Rohit Sharma as much was expected of him, while he had no other choice than to bring in Tiwary for Rahul Sharma, since he was under pressure to play the Bengal batsman.
Manoj Tiwary, being a part-time bowler, bowled 9 overs conceding just 43 runs and grabbed four wickets to reduce Lanka to 251/8.
Tiwary was on a roll, as he dismissed Chandimal (28), Mathews (14), Perera (2) and Jeevan Mendis (17) to stop the run-flow and remove the three most dangerous batsmen who played a vital knock on Saturday during the third ODI at Colombo.
Moreover, Dhoni's strategy needs to be appreciated as the team finished their quota of 50 overs within a record time, in recent times as they have been going beyond the scheduled time to be fined for slow-over rate as Dhoni was fined on July 28, after the first ODI at Hambantota.
Despite Tiwary's magical spell, Lanka managed to post 251/8 in 50 overs. India need 252 runs to win off 50 overs at just over 5 runs per over.
After a wonderful outing with the ball, can Tiwary make a double with a fantastic half century or a ton to make it a remarkable comeback?
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Angelo Mathews (vice-captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Pradeep.
Umpires : Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and Bruce Oxenford (Australia)
Third umpire: Tyron Wijewardene (Sri Lanka)
Match referee BC Broad (England)