Kohli shines once more
Virat Kohli continued his sparkling one-day international form as India edged past Sri Lanka in the first of five encounters.
The number three, who is currently third in the International Cricket Council batting rankings, struck his 12th ODI century to take India to 314 for six.
That feat is all the more remarkable given he has now hit the same amount of tons in 86 encounters that India legend Rahul Dravid managed in 344.
The upshot was a 21-run victory for India as Kumar Sangakkara’s 133 in reply proved in vain.
India’s effort was built upon a fine partnership between Kohli and Virender Sehwag.
The visitors’ decision to bat initially looked questionable as Nuwan Kulasekara bowled Gautam Gambhir around his legs.
Yet that merely heralded the arrival of Kohli, who proved the perfect foil for a typically brutal Sehwag.
They did enjoy some good fortune; the latter was put down by both Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kulasekara while Thisara Perera shelled the former.
Yet that did not detract from a masterful performance from Kohli, who posted a third successive century against Sri Lanka, his fourth in five innings and an Indian record-equalling fifth consecutive score of 50 or more.
He and Sehwag were determined to make the best of their escapes and brought up their fifties in 60 and 62 balls respectively - Kohli equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record in doing so.
Perera made up for his earlier error by running out Sehwag on 96, but, by the time he had Kohli caught, the batsman had already passed his hundred in 106 balls.
In between, Angelo Matthews snared Rohit Sharma for five, meaning that, despite the good work of Sehwag and Kohli, Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni still had work to do.
They did it, however, adding 79 runs in 55 balls as India finished strongly; Raina struck 50 and Dhoni 35.
Sri Lanka got off to a poor start as Tillakaratne Dilshan fell for just six before Sangakkara started to up the ante.
Upul Tharanga stuck with him to make 28 before chipping Ravichandran Ashwin to Sehwag and, when Dinesh Chandimal nicked Umesh Yadav behind, Sri Lanka were 117 for three.
They were never really in control of their chase, despite Sangakkara’s efforts and, after Pragyan Ojha cleaned up Mahela Jayawardene for 12, the game was almost up.
Perera offered his resistence with 44 but, once he was gone, India were home, in spite of Sangakkara's 151-ball vigil that was eventually ended by Yadav.