PALLEKELE: Virat Kohli cracked a half-century and Irfan Pathan bagged three key wickets to help India post an easy 39-run win over Sri Lanka in the one-off Twenty20 international in Pallekele on Tuesday.
In-form Kohli hit a 48-ball 68 for his maiden half-century in T20 internationals while paceman Pathan finished with three for 27 as India bowled Sri Lanka out for 116 after scoring 155 for three. Man-of-the-match Pathan jolted Sri Lanka’s top order when he dismissed skipper Mahela Jayawardene (26), Tillakaratne Dilshan (zero) and Upul Tharanga (five) in his opening three overs to reduce the hosts to 35-3. Seamer Ashok Dinda finished with four for 19, including three wickets in an over, as Sri Lanka lost their last six wickets for 20 runs. Angelo Mathews top-scored for Sri Lanka with 31.
“I think we mastered our bowling and batting better than them,” said India captain MS Dhoni. “We thought we were 15 runs short, but overall we were really good.”
Kohli, who scored two centuries in the recent five-match one-day series in Sri Lanka, put on 74 for the second wicket with opener Ajinkya Rahane (21) and 48 for the next with Suresh Raina who made an unbeaten 25-ball 34.
“We thought 150 was achievable,” said Jayawardene. “We’re making a lot of mistakes and when you come across a team like India it is tough.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2012.