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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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Recent Match Report – India vs Sri Lanka 1st ODI 2022/23

India 373 for 7 (Kohli 113, Rohit 83, Gill 70, Rajitha 3-88) Sri Lanka 306 for 8 (Shanaka 108*, Nissanka 72, Malik 3-57, Siraj 2-30) with 67 runs

A sparkling opening score of 143 runs between Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma put India on a roll. Then Virat Kohli smoked a 45th ODI century to take the total to great heights.

Sri Lanka bravely replied, Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva and Dasun Shanaka produced half-decent innings. But India had set a monster target of 374. And when Sri Lanka fell to 23 for 2 and then to 64 for 3 against excellent Indian bowling, the chase took on a permanently doomed quality. Still, Sri Lanka didn’t fold cheaply – they pushed to 306 for 8 – Shanaka completed a second ODI hundred in the final.

Together, the Indian players took seven wickets, with Umran Malik claiming the most, with 3 for 57. However, it was the hosts’ top three that defined the contours of this game. Gill hit 70 off 60, Rohit 83 off 67 and Kohli’s 113 off 87 was largely imperious. There were also contributions from the likes of Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul, who did not allow the run rate to drop in the middle overs.

There were times when India seemed able to push for 400, but Sri Lanka’s bowlers didn’t quite fall apart – Kasun Rajitha (who took three wickets) and Chamika Karunaratne bowled decently at death. Everyone’s numbers were still a mess, of course – Rajitha passed for 88 out of 10, his opening partner Dilshan Madushanka passed for over seven. It was not a particularly friendly field for spinners. In addition, the outfield was fast.

Of all India’s excellent innings, Gill’s was the purest depending on his glorious timing, especially through offside. And it was the knock that first signaled that a monster total was in the making. He creamed not-particularly-wide, not-particularly-short deliveries straight through offsides in the early overs.

By the end of the fifth inning, Gill had raced to 25-17, but then Rohit took over. In a particularly disheartening run for Sri Lanka, he whacked Rajitha for two sixes and a four – all using his famous pull shot, one of those sixes coming after charging the bowler. He was an increasingly dismissive innings.

Racing to their fifties, the spread of the field and the arrival of serious spin hardly dampened the pair’s scoring percentage. The partnership wasn’t without a bit of luck – both batters could have been out in their 40s, had the standing umpire given them lbw (the ratings were dismissed due to the umpire’s decision).

Kohli also had some luck, falling on 52 once and 81 on another, Rajitha the bowler on both occasions. Otherwise he made his way through the middle overs. He attacked Shanaka to pound him halfway to get his first boundary, was brutal on length errors from the spinners and was strong over the ground against the current.

He reached his half-century with a six-over-broad mid-on from Dhananjaya de Silva, after entering court. By this stage, with around 35 overs bowled, he and Rahul were deep in a partnership that harvested 90 balls from 70. Kohli scored especially heavily in the arc between mid-on and midwicket, but of course had shots everywhere. When he reached his 100th ball at 80, India was already pushing 350.

However, partly thanks to Kohli not quite exploding in death as he would have liked, India made only 70 runs in their last nine overs. At 303 for 3 after 41 overs a total of 400 was conceivable.

Despite Nissanka’s offside limits in the Powerplay, Sri Lanka’s start was dismal. They never had the measure of this ultra-steep chase. Mohammed Siraj removed Avishka Fernando for 5, before bowling Kusal Mendis from the inside perimeter in his next over. India had been 75 to 0 at the end of the first power play. Sri Lanka was 38 to 2, their required rate already more than eight a year. When Charith Asalanka failed to overhaul a wrong decision against Malik in the 14th over, Sri Lanka’s chances of winning seemed infinitely slim.

However, there were those who tried to revive the chase. De Silva and Nissanka scored 72 from 65 for the fourth wicket, de Silva hitting a pleasing 47 from 40. Nissanka’s 72 from 80 was probably a bit slow given the conditions, but will perhaps be another stepping stone on the journey of his growth.

But then Sri Lanka lost four wickets for 45, leaving Shanaka alone in the company of the tail, and the whole venture was about getting as big a score as possible from Shanaka, as the win was long overdue. He took his time coming in, making only 31 of his first 41 balls and hitting only the single four and six in that span.

But soon he started to destroy it. He got his 50 off 50 balls, then hit many singles to give number 10 Rajitha only the last two balls of most overs. the innings.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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