- Sinchan Saha | January 16, 2023 | 10:00 am
IND vs SL, 3rd ODI: India 390 for 5 (Kohli 166*, Gill 116, Rajitha 2-81, Kumara 2-87) beat Sri Lanka 97 (Siraj 4-32, Kuldeep 2-16) by 317 runs
It’s hard to imagine a more severe defeat. Before the ball started bouncing around under lights, centuries from Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill helped India reach 390 on a slow and seemingly lifeless track. As India bowled Sri Lanka out for 73, Mohammed Siraj took four wickets of Test quality, and Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav each took two.
India’s victory margin beat New Zealand’s record of 290 runs against Ireland to become the largest in ODI history
Although the conditions changed dramatically, the quality differences between the two sides were just as stark. India made the decision to bat first in order to set a challenging total and then defend it in dewy conditions. As it turned out, Sri Lanka was bowled out in 22 overs, so the match barely lasted long enough for dew to play a role.
However, the bat was the catalyst for the victory. Before Kohli took over, India got off to the right start thanks to Rohit Sharma and Gill. In the 34th over, Gill was run out for 116 off 97; Kohli took 110 deliveries and scored an unbeaten 166. These were two distinct millennia. In the event that the two innings had a heartbeat, Gill’s looked like that of a cricketer: power that explodes amid periods of near-inactivity. Kohli ran in the middle distances: a steady, rhythmic heartbeat that ranges from middle to high is effectively maintained without any puffing or huffing. He transformed into a sprinter on the final stretch.
It ought to come as no surprise. Gill, who is still adjusting to the pace of international innings, scored his second ODI century, while Kohli scored his 46th. His 10th run scored against Sri Lanka was the most by a batter against a single opponent.
India only scored one run off their first three overs, indicating that the batters needed time to adjust to the slow surface. However, once they got going, they went hard. Due to Sri Lanka’s lack of depth in the bowling, the batters could afford not to press Wanindu Hasaranga hard.
Rohit and Gill both scored in spurts. In the sixth over, Gill was bowled by Lahiru Kumara and followed by a six by Rohit with four fours in succession. In the tenth over, Kasun Rajitha bowled two sixes and a four from Rohit, breaking a brief lull.
After the power play, five overs passed without a boundary. In the 16th, Rohit attempted to produce one by pulling a shortish ball into the air. However, due to the pitch’s lack of pace and bounce, he was caught at deep backward square leg.
As soon as he entered, Kohli cover-drove the second ball he faced for four. Kohli hit Jeffrey Vandersay, a leg spinner, for a one-two in his second over at the wicket. He then cover-drove Vandersay for four before going back to late-cut the next ball, which was, as was to be expected, flatter.
After going from 5 off 14 to 35 off 28 to 52 off 55, Gill opened with a six off Vandersay that he slog-swept with his short arm. While Kohli transformed into an improved version of the already effective anchor he was, he took 34 balls to score the 48 runs required for his century: scoring without taking any risks at a rate greater than a run and ball.
Gill tried to get into a higher gear in the final nine overs of the second powerplay after reaching his hundred. In the 32nd, he hit Vandersay for three fours before Rajitha beat him in the 33rd over with a slower ball that bounced low.
After scoring a risk-free 58 off 56, Kohli gradually increased his effort to reach 82 off 76 by the 40th over. Shreyas Iyer’s trouble with timing showed that the pitch had slowed even more and was harder to score on.
Sri Lanka’s fielding collapsed in the final ten overs. Vandersay was running from long-on when a Kohli mishit lobbed him in the first over. Kohli acknowledged his luck there, as well as the dreadful luck he has experienced over the past three years. Ashen Bandara and Vandersay then collided badly as they came together to block Kohli’s ground shot.
Kohli appeared to run out of steam toward the end of his hundred in the first ODI. He barely exerted himself here. The fielding side is put under a lot of pressure once Kohli is fresh and set in the final overs. Kohli went from zero sixes in the first forty overs to eight by the end of the innings, the most he has ever hit in an ODI innings. Balls kept getting fumbled, loose balls kept coming in.
In the final ten overs, Kohli scored 84 runs off the last 34 balls he faced without much help from the opposing team. From the last 10, India scored 116 points.
Vandersay used Dunith Wellagagae as a concussion substitute because Bandara’s injury would prevent him from participating in the chase. Sri Lanka’s task was always going to be difficult, but Siraj’s blistering pace made it impossible.
Siraj has become less reliant on his favourite toy, the wobble-seam in ducker, these days and has been using the out swinger more while the ball is still swinging. The outcome was that the ball kept swinging. India appeared to be vying for a victory in the final Test when a wide slip was caught, followed by a second and a third slip.
Nuwanidu Fernando inside-edged a wide outswinger, Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis fell to the traditional outswinger, and Hasaranga received the wobble-seam delivery that seemed to hit the top of the off.
Two soft dismissals were made against Shami because he appeared just as dangerous. Siraj ran out Karunaratne with a throw in his follow-through after Kuldeep bowled Dasun Shanaka through the gate.
ALSO READ: Mitchell Santner to lead New Zealand’s T20I squad in India
In the end, India gave up trying to get the final wicket from the other end, allowing Siraj to take five wickets. With the final ball of his ten, he eventually got a lbw decision, but Rajitha had inside-edged it and it was reviewed well. Before Kuldeep took out Kumara, the final wicket added 22 more to the total.