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Virat, Sehwag gave India a winning start

Sunday, July 22, 2021
© Cricket Nirvana
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India never looked a side playing their first match in four months despite survived some jittery moments in the fag end before snatching a thrilling 21-run win over Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the five-match series on Saturday. Virat Kohli, who easily one of the best ODI batsman in the world, cracked a superb 106 his third consecutive century against Sri Lanka, fourth in the last five innings and Virender Sehwag, who playing his first game in nearly five months briefly, scored 96 runs as their 173-run stand for the second wicket laid the foundation for India's imposing 314 for six after electing to bat.

Diminutive left-hander Suresh Raina (50 off 45) and skipper MS Dhoni (35 off 29) added valuable 79-run to recover India from a slight wobble towards the end to take the side past 300-run mark. India then restricted the hosts to 293 for nine to take a 1-0 lead in the series, which it needs to win by a 5-0 margin to reclaim the number one position in ODIs.

The hosts' resistance was built around Kumar Sangakkara's fighting 133 but he fell short of partners from the other end until he was joined by Thisara Perera, who scored a quick-fire 44 off just 28 balls, and the duo rattled up a 78-run stand for the seventh wicket, giving some anxious moments to India but their effort only reduced the defeat margin.

Sangakkara's knock, his 14th ODI hundred and fifth against India, came off 151 balls and included 12 boundaries. Sri Lanka's fight ended when Sangakkara was bowled by Umesh Yadav in 48th over and Perera was dismissed by Irfan Pathan in the penultimate over. Pathan (2/37), R Ashwin (2/46) and Yadav (2/76) took two wickets each for India.

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