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
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.
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