A sublime Virat Kohli hunted down Sri Lanka’s 286 to complete India’s absolute domination in this series, while checking off the only conspicuous individual milestone that had been missing from the tour thus far – a Kohli hundred.
Five India batsmen have hit centuries in the series, but for poise and execution, Kohli’s cannot be beaten. He arrived with India in slight trouble, watched on aghast as his middle order deserted him in a crucial period, but picked apart the Sri Lanka death bowlers expertly, to see India home in the penultimate over. MS Dhoni was not on hand to deliver his trademark late-innings barrage, but as the target neared Kohli even struck a helicopter-shot of sorts, to put the ball in the stands behind long-on, and sealed the match with a six, for good measure. Having finished on 139 not out off 126, Kohli roared at the game’s conclusion, plucked a stump from the pitch and soaked in the applause from a delighted Ranchi crowd.
All this despite an expertly paced 139 not out from a desperate Angelo Mathews earlier in the match, and a four-wicket haul for Ajantha Mendis, on the first track of the series that offered significant turn. Having been the first Sri Lanka captain to lead his side to a Test series victory in England this year, Mathews now has the ignominy of presiding over Sri Lanka’s worst-ever one-day whitewash. Though, having taken two wickets and a fine catch in addition to his ton, Mathews might fairly feel his team could have supported him better.