Thiruvananthapuram: Virat Kohli lit up the dead rubber with an epic 166 not out, his third century in four innings, as India annihilated a clueless Sri Lanka with a record 317-run win in the third ODI to sweep the series here on Sunday.
Skipper Rohit Sharma (42 off 49) and Shubman Gill (116 off 97) shared a fluent 95-run opening partnership before Kohli (166 not out off 110) propelled India to a daunting 390 for five with his 74th international hundred and 46th in the 50-over format.
Sri Lanka succumbed to the high-quality fast bowling of Mohammad Siraj who struck four times inside the 10 overs to shut the door on the opposition. Sri Lanka were all out for a meager 73 in 22 overs, highlighting the gulf between the two teams.
It is the biggest margin of victory by runs in the history of men’s ODIs.
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The night well and truly belonged to King Kohli. The 34-year-old, who had ended a nearly three-year wait for an international hundred in the Asia Cup last year, showed that he is back to his best.
Kohli is now only three short of equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries. Kohli’s conversion ratio is remarkable as he got to his 46th ton in 259 innings while Tendulkar had taken 452 innings to get to 49 centuries.
Before Kohli took over, Gill had played some high-quality strokes en route to his second ODI hundred. With that effort, he repaid the faith of the team management which had picked him to open ahead of Ishan Kishan, who came into the series with a double hundred under his belt.
The 23-run over from Lahiru Kumara in the initial stage of the innings got India going. After Rohit flicked him for a six over deep mid-wicket, Gill collected four straight boundaries off Kumara, three on the off side and one was a leg side flick off a full toss.
Rohit too was looking good at the other end but got out against the run of play while trying one of his signature shots, the front foot pull.
Gill and Kohli then shared a 131-run stand in which they were hardly troubled by the Sri Lankan bowlers.
Kohli began the innings with a flurry of boundaries before accumulating runs with his exemplary running between the wickets. His first of his eight sixes came in the 80s and it was a mishit over long on, leaving him in a chuckle.
He got to 99 with a boundary which came following a collision with Ashen Bandara and Jeffrey Vandersay, who both were running towards the ball from deep square leg and deep midwicket. Both the fielders were eventually stretchered off the field.
The last 10 overs saw India smashing 116 runs with Kohli going ballistic after his century. It was raining sixes from his bat post the milestone and one over long on had shades MS Dhoni’s helicopter shot that left Kohli with a big smile. Most of his maximums came in the cow corner region.
In response to India’s mammoth total, Sri Lanka never really turned up in the chase. Siraj had Avishka Fernando caught at widish slip in the second over of the innings. It was a procession thereafter with Siraj running through the top order.
Mohammad Shami and Kuldeep Yadav chipped in with a couple of wickets.
India: 390/5 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 166 not out, Shubman Gill 116; Kasun Rajitha 2/81).
Sri Lanka 73 all out in 22 overs ( Nuwanidu Fernando 19 ; Mohammed Siraj 4/32 )