The series is wrapped up. India seemingly can’t lose a match on this Sri Lanka tour even if they want to. They tried in the second One Day International, with a batting collapse during a chase. They almost repeated it in the third ODI too. But so far, Sri Lanka have only been able to get close to upsetting India, it’s not been a reality.
And with a new captain (yet again!) for Sri Lanka in Lasith Malinga, the story was no different in the fourth ODI – a 168-run defeat.
AS IT HAPPENED:
10:15 pm: Virat Kohli, no surprise, is the man of the match for his 96-ball 131. But boy, it could have been so much more had he not played that one loose shot. “We wanted to bat first because we hadn’t batted first in the three games. The surface was amazing. It was a good toss to win. Gave opportunities to three new guys. They will get another opportunity,” says Kohli and adds that batting order will remain flexible. We mean, why not.
And that ladies and gentlemen, is a wrap up of our coverage. The fifth ODI is on Sunday.
IT’S ALL OVER: Sri Lanka are defeated by 168 runs in the fourth ODI. Kuldeep Yadav, wicketless till now, gets two wickets in two balls to dismiss the hosts for 207. A sorry performance (not the first) and a defeat that even Sri Lanka must have seen coming after the first few overs today, we are afraid. Oh, well. 4-0 to India it is.
WICKET! “Sri Lanka are finding the most exotic ways of getting out,” says Harsha Bhogle on air as Malinda Pushpakumara plays a ramp short off Jasprit Bumrah to third man, where Pandya makes no mistake. After 42 overs, Sri Lanka 203/8.
WICKET! So Mathews lone battle ends after all, as he falls trying to slog Axar Patel. It’s tossed up wide, and Mathews attempted heave gets the toe end of the bat, Shardul takes a simple catch. After 38 overs, Sri Lanka 191/7.
WICKET! In an over where Sri Lanka actually got a move on, they end up losing a wicket. Axar Patel is taken for 15 runs in his over, including a six and a four by Hasaranga but the over ends with him getting run out. After 34 overs, Sri Lanka 177/6.
Fifty for Angelo Mathews: The former captain is waging a lone battle in what’s looking like a lost cause. Reaches his 34th ODI fifty (off 61 balls) and follows that up with an excellent straight drive off Shardul for a four. After 31 overs, Sri Lanka 154/5.
Wicket: SIX AND OUT - Again. Just like Thirimanne, Sirwardana’s little cameo comes to an end the ball after he hits Pandya for a six. Full outside off, edged taken by Dhoni. Pandya is angry, more than happy. Lets out a cry. Sri Lanka 143 for 5, in the 29th over.
After 25 overs, Sri Lanka 113/4: Mathews and Siriwardana, to be fair to them, are showing good fight. Respecting the good balls, putting away the bad ones. 38 off 49 for Mathews, 22 off 32 for Siriwardana.
Sri Lanka need 263 from the remaining 25 overs though. So that’s there.
Meanwhile in England County cricket...
Here’s a stat for you: Virat Kohli reached his century in the 25th over. Sri Lanka have crossed 100 in their 21st over.
After 20 overs, Sri Lanka 91 for 4: At this point, one must wonder if Sri Lanka are even considering this as a serious chase. Milinda Siriwardana has played a few good shots since coming in but it’s largely been sedate, with Angelo Mathews at the other end taking his time to settle down. Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Pandya getting in some quiet-ish overs.
WICKET: Well, five overs is a long time without losing a wicket for Sri Lanka. Thirimanne hits a six over fine leg of Hardik Pandya nad the next ball, he hits to Dhawan at deep point. Four down, six to go for India to complete another massive win.
After 15 overs, Sri Lanka 61 for 3: The run-rate has gone past four. Whoop-de-do! And Sri Lanka’s struggles are so bad that Virat Kohli came on to bowl right after the end of the powerplay. Yeah, sure. Why not. 21 runs in that 5 over-spell but at least not a wicket lost.
Another one gone! Stop messing with us, MS Dhoni. How have you heard that noise? Bumrah sends a short ball down the leg side, mirror image of the Dickwella dismissal but the noise is even fainter this time. Once again Dhoni asks Kohli to review and once again he is right! Going from bad to worse for Sri Lanka. After 10 overs, Sri Lanka 40/3.
Sri Lanka lose their second and it’s the dangerous Kusal Mendis: The last thing the hosts wanted is for their best batsman to get run out, but that’s precisely what’s happened. Munaweera taps it to point and takes a step or two but Mendis has backed up far too long. KL Rahul has the time to line up a direct hit at the non-striker end and he does it. Sri Lanka 28/2 after 6 overs.
Early breakthrough for India and it’s Dhoni Review System that gives Shardul Thakur his first ODI wicket: Niroshan Dickwella tries to pull a short ball that was just outside the leg stump, Dhoni goes up in appeal and then tells Kohli “aawaz aaya hai” (There was a sound) and he’s right of course. Thakur, who’s working up some serious pace, gets his first in ODIs. Sri Lanka 26 for 1 after 5 overs.
1840 hrs: Sri Lanka’s chase is underway. Shardul Thakur, the debutant will get things going.
In his 300th ODI, MS Dhoni has added another feather to his cap. A new ODI record!
END OF 50 OVERS (aka Sri Lanka’s prayers for mercy coming true): Manish Pandey reaches 50 off the very last ball of the innings. MS Dhoni finishes on 49* in his 300th ODI and India reach a mammoth 375 for 5.
After 49 overs, India 365 for 5: Dhoni has upped the ante! Not before Munaweera put down a sitter off Malinga though. He responds with a massive six over midwicket. Followed by another boundary in the next over off Fernando. He’s on 43, Pandey on 46.
Fascinated by numbers? Fan of Dhoni? Both? This is a great read for you then:
After 47 overs India 343 for 5: Manish Pandey is making the most of this opportunity in the XI. Some delightful strokes against the left-arm pacer Fernando – a guided shot to third man, a inside out lofted cover drive two standouts so far. He’s reached 42 off 36 balls. Dhoni hanging around at the other end, with the occasional boundary, he’s on 25 off 30.
After 43 overs India 305 for 5: Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni have steadied the mini-slump for India, Pandey looking in good touch from get go. Dhoni taking his time like he usually does. 28 runs from the last 5 overs, but importantly no wickets. Dhoni brings up the 300 for his team, in his 300th ODI with a four.
MS Dhoni is now batting in his 300th ODI. What a journey this has been!
OUT! KL Rahul is back in the pavilion too. And he once again fails to read Akila Dhananjaya’s wrong-un. Chips to straight to midwicket. And the man of the moment, MS Dhoni out to bat. India 274 for 5 in the 38th over.
An action-packed 5-over spell in the match: Rohit Sharma makes his 13th ODI century, Rohit Sharma is back in the pavilion. Hardik Pandya is given out caught, reviews it successfully and Hardik Pandya is also back in the pavilion. Angleo Mathews with both the wickets in the 35th over. After 35 overs 262/4.
STOP THE PRESS, SRI LANKA HAVE A BREAKTHROUGH! Virat Kohli was looking set for 200 and more, but a wide, full ball from Malinga is hit straight to the fielder at cover – he was going to be dismissed only by a bad shot, and on that occasion, he got the placement all wrong. Out for 131 off 96 balls. After 30 overs, India 230 for 2. Hardik Pandya walks in at 4.
200 partnership between the two now! Some insane statistics popping up already.
29th ODI CENTURY FOR VIRAT KOHLI! The captain looked set for a big score from the moment he walked out, and he’s done just that – in 76 balls. 14 fours and two sixes! And it comes in the 25th over of the innings. Halfway through the innings, halfway through a Kohli epic, perhaps? After 25 overs, India 187 for 1.
And 50 up for Rohit Sharma as well. To call a 45-ball fifty “slow” would be harsh, but Kohli has made Rohit’s innings feel that way. Another excellent ODI innings from the Indian opener as he gets to his 33rd ODI fifty. Kohli on the other hand has raced past 80, cruising to a century. After 20 overs , India 148 for 1.
After 15 overs, India 113/1: 46 runs in the five overs after the powerplay ended. India are hurtling towards a big score, potentially here. Akila Dhananjaya comes in and has already gone for 16 runs in his 2 overs. Rohit taking a liking to him, first a pull over midwicket for four and repeats it next ball for a six. Kohli from the other end, continues to find the boundaries, batting with authority.
And just like that, 50 for Virat Kohli! He usually comes in, gets his eye in, moves the scoreboard slowly and then explodes but it’s a different Kohli today. From the moment he hit his first boundary – a cover drive, what else – he’s looked for quick runs. Has raced to a 38-ball fifty with 9 fours. After 13 overs, India 91/1.
After 10 overs, India are 67/1: Virat Kohli is looking good, folks. Looks well set for a big one. He continues to dominate the strike, has raced to 44 off 35 balls. With the spinner Pushpakumara coming, nothing changed. The last over of the powerplay, Kohli hits two boundaries – one so straight and powerful, that it brushes the stumps and still races away. Earlier, Rohit shows he can dominate too – if his captain gives him the strikes. A brilliant pick-up short over midwicket for the first six of the day, brought up India’s fifty.
After 5 overs, India 29/1: After Dhawan’s wicket, Virat Kohli walks in at No. 3 and has got going straight away! Rohit has just faced 7 balls in the first 5, Kohli taking the bulk of the strike. And after that wicket maiden over for Fernando, Kohli responds in his next over with three boundaries, back-to-back! One more elegant than the previous – a rasping cover drive, an exquisite off-drive and precise on-drive. Angelo Mathews replaces Malinga early, and he is welcomed with an on-drive too. This is a batting beauty, alright!
Early wicket for Sri Lanka! Vishwa Fernando strikes and this mini poor run for Shikhar Dhawan continues. Second over of the innings, Fernando bowls a good length ball outside off that just shapes away, Dhawan throws everything at it but a thick outside edge flies straight to the 3rd man. A wicket maiden! After 2 overs, India 6/1.
02:25 pm: Hello and welcome to the live blog of the fourth ODI between India and Sri Lanka. Virat Kohli wins yet another toss on the tour (some form with the coin!) and India will bat first.
A special day for MS Dhoni of course, as the man from Ranchi who has become an absolute superstar of Indian cricket, plays his 300th ODI. IT’s been one heck of a journey for the ‘Captain Cool’ and at 36, he’s enjoying a good run form now too. Virat Kohli was all praise for MSD at the toss. “One more day to celebrate the legend that he is,” he said.
Three changes for India. Manish Pandey, Kuldeep Yadav come in. Shardul Thakur makes his debut. Bhuvi, Chahal and Kedar Jadhav sit out.