ICC World Cup: Sri Lanka shellshocked by India, Kohli has to wait for 49th century
In-form batter, however, betters another Sachin Tendulkar record while India pile up a mammoth total against Sri Lanka
When India compiled a mammoth 357 for eight against Sri Lanka on Thursday, even the most diehard of Sri Lankan fans were not possibly expecting their team to pull off a record chase. But neither were they expecting the islanders to be all out for 55 in 19.4 overs against a relentless pace attack — one of the lowest ever totals in the history of the World Cup that left the team shellshocked at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.
The cricket media had, for the last couple of days, tried to drum up some hype for the contest as a match-up between the two finalists of the 2011 showpiece at the same venue. But that was the generation of Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Malinga and Muralitharan, who made their second final entry on the trot.
Times are different as the Lankans had to come in as qualifiers in this tournament, and barely about one-and-a-half months back, they were all out for 50 in the last meeting between the teams in the Asia Cup final.
The paranoia about the Indian pace attack must have played on the minds of Kushal Mendis & Co., who started a procession once the resilient Pathum Nissanka fell lbw to Jasprit Bumrah.
It was no surprise that the pace trio shared 17 of the overs bowled, with Mohammed Shami returning with another fifer (5/18) to become the highest wicket taker for India in the tournament with 45 wickets. Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan are in second position now with 44 wickets each.
Mohammed Siraj was also back among the wickets (3/16) as the men in blue climbed back to the top of the table with 14 points (seven wins out of seven) and officially confirmed their entry into the semi-finals.
The irony of the day is that it did not begin badly at all for the Lankans when they sent India in to bat. Dilshan Madhusanka, the nippy left-arm seamer and one of the few silver linings in their campaign this time, took out captain Rohit Sharma with a delivery which once again exposed his fallibility to left-armers from over the wicket.
Just when it seemed as though Virat Kohli was poised to emulate Sachin Tendulkar’s landmark of 49 ODI centuries against a modest attack, Madhusanka fooled him with a slower one with the master batter on 88.
Given the fact that Kohli has taken over 125 innings less to reach 48 of those centuries, the landmark could come in this tournament itself. The fans can, however, rejoice in the fact that Shubman Gill (92) also got his mojo back in helpful conditions while an imperious Shreyas Iyer (82) made the most of the launchpad created by a mammoth 189-run second wicket partnership between Kohli and Gill.
These days, a plethora of batting records tend to fall whenever Kohli gets his eye in for a longer stay at the crease. He may have failed to keep his date with century no. 49, but broke another long standing Tendulkar mark — crossing 1000-plus ODI runs in a calendar year eight times, compared to the former’s seven.
Braving the humid conditions with his hard-run singles and twos, Kohli became only the second batter to score 4,000 runs in international cricket against Sri Lanka. No prizes for guessing, Tendulkar was the only other batter.
Kohli reached the feat in only his 72nd match against the islanders. Tendulkar, incidentally, is the all-time leading scorer against Sri Lanka, having notched up 5,108 runs from 109 matches at an average of 49.11, with 17 hundreds and 23 half-centuries.
Here are the years when Kohli crossed 1000-plus runs in a calendar year in ODIs: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2023. Tendulkar’s 1000-plus runs in this format came in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2007.
Published: 02 Nov 2023, 7:28 PM