Virat Kohli scored 113 off 87 balls in the 1st ODI against Sri Lanka.© AFP
Virat Kohli showed his master-class once again as he scored his 45th ODI ton on Tuesday. Against Sri Lanka, the former India skipper hit 113 off just 87 balls at a strike-rate of 129.89 at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati. His innings included 12 fours and one six. This was Kohli’s 20th ODI century at home – joint-most alongside the great Sachin Tendulkar. Kohli got two reprieves on way to his 73rd international ton. After Kohli reached the half-century mark in 47 balls, he was first dropped in the 37th over by wicketkeeper Kusal Mendis off Kasun Rajitha. He got a reprieve in the 43rd over too, again of Rajitha’s bowling. This time Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka dropped him while he was batting on 81.
Kohli made full use of the two lives that he got to steer India to a huge total. He fell in the 49th over, when Team India was already past the 360-mark. India ultimately scored 373/7 in 50 overs.
“I have had a bit of a break, couple of practice sessions. I have come fresh after the Bangladesh tour where things didn’t quite go to plan for me in the second half. I was quite looking forward to the home season. I had to bat through the innings as I always do but still manage a high strike-rate,” Kohli said at the innings break.
“I would take those (dropped chances) any day. Luck plays a big part, you need to thank god on such evenings. These evenings are important, pretty aware of that. Thankful that I made the most of that luck presented to me. I helped the team get 20 runs extra, rather than 350. It’s going to be the same thing. Someone will have to score a 150, or 140 to chase this down. But it also gives our bowlers a chance to bowl with dew coming into play. I am quite aware of what I eat, diet is the most important thing at this age. That keeps me in prime shape. That helps me give my 100 percent for the team.”
The most exquisite aspect of Kohli’s innings was it’s elegance rather than brute force. Despite batting at a strike-rate of over 125, Kohli rarely took the aerial route. He played along the ground and yet kept the scorecard progressing at a rapid rate.
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