GALLE – With a blazing century of Virat Kohli, India thrashed Sri Lanka Saturday by 304 runs in the opening test, leading series by 1-0.
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Overall, Kohli faced 136 balls and hit five fours as well as a six. In doing so, he equaled the records of former Indian skipper Dilip Vengsarkar (116 Tests) and VVS Laxman (134 Tests), who both have 17 Test hundreds. Kohli reached his milestone in only his 58th Test. The Indian declaration came after the very next over. It was the second highest target set by India in a Test after 617 versus New Zealand at Wellington in 2009.
Kohli and Rahane put on 51 runs for the 4th wicket. In doing so, they became the 14th pair to put up 2000-plus runs in Test cricket for India. Kohli also became the quickest captain to score 1000 overseas Test runs, reaching the mark in 17 innings. He improved Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 19 innings.
This was India’s biggest overseas win (in terms of runs) surpassing 279 run-victory against England at Leeds in 1986. For Sri Lanka, it was their biggest defeat (in terms of runs), surpassing their 301-run loss against Pakistan in 1994.
A gigantic victory target of 550 was out of the question for the hosts but they fizzled out in the final session of the fourth day to finish on 245 in 76.5 overs — their innings terminated with injured skipper Rangana Herath and Asela Gunaratne ruled out. This was after India captain Virat Kohli struck his 17th Test hundred with India declaring their second innings at 240 for three.
The Sri Lankans, especially their opener Dimuth Karunaratne (97) batted gutsily for the first two sessions reaching 192 for 4 at tea. However, Ravichandran Ashwin (3/65 in 27 overs) ran through the middle-order. Once Karunaratne was dismissed trying to play paddle sweep, it was all over for the Islanders. After the tea break, India made short work of proceedings.
The Lankan resistance ended for all- purpose when the latter was bowled off Ashwin, dragging a sweep back onto his stumps. Overall, he faced 208 balls and hit 9 fours. The end came swiftly when Lahiru Kumara (0) skied off Ravindra Jadeja (3/71). Herath and Gunaratne were unable to bat owing to on-field injuries. Umesh Yadav (1/42) and Mohammed Shami (1/43) took a wicket apiece at the start of the innings.