It has been over 14 years, since Virat Kohli made his India debut and then went on to become a superstar. His first match was an ODI against Sri Lanka at Dambulla in 2008. Since that game, Kohli scaled numerous peaks to be considered one of the greatest ever Indian cricketers. He also led the India for a long time before giving up the captaincy. At 34, he is scaling new peaks. On Tuesday, he scored his 20th ODI ton at home to equal Sachin Tendulkar‘s record.
His 113 off 87 balls against Sri Lanka in Guwahati steered India to 373/7 in 50 overs. Ultimately, India won the match by 67 runs. In the post-match presentation, Kohli made some big statements as he reflected on his latest feat.
“I don’t think there was anything different. My preparation and intent always remain the same. I thought I was hitting the ball nicely. It was close to the template I play with, I understood we needed an extra 25-30 runs. I tried to understand the conditions in the second half,” Virat Kohli said at the post-match ceremony.
“Tried to get a comfortable total for us on the board. The one thing I learnt was desperation doesn’t get you anywhere. You do not need to complicate things. You go out there and play without any fear, I can’t hold on to things. You have to play for the right reasons and almost play every game like it’s your last and just be happy about it. The game is going to move on. I am not going to play forever, I am in a happy space and enjoying my time playing.”
Asked to bat first, India rode former skipper Kohli’s 87-ball 113 and fluent half-centuries from his successor Rohit Sharma (83) and Shubman Gill (70) to rake up an imposing 373 for seven in their allotted quota of overs on a batting-friendly strip.
In reply, the Sri Lankans were never in the hunt and ended at 306 for eight in 50 overs to hand the hosts a 1-0 lead in the rubber.
After opener Pathum Nissanka fell for 72, visiting captain Dasun Shanaka waged a lone battle and produced a counterattacking century, even as the others failed to put up any resistance.
In the end, Shanaka remained not out on 108 off 88 balls.
Young speed merchants Umran Malik (3/57) and Mohammed Siraj (2/30) then put the icing on the cake in a lopsided game.
With PTI inputs
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