Kohli, Raina help India set competitive target against Sri Lanka at Pallekele

Virat Kohli scored a 48-ball 68 against Sri Lanka AFP

Pallekele: Aug 7, 2012

In-form Virat Kohli hit a fine 68 as India scored 155 for three against Sri Lanka, in the lone Twenty20 International being played at Pallekele on Tuesday.

Kohli, who is in the form of his life, smashed his way to a 48-ball 68 and shared couple of crucial partnerships including 74 runs with Ajinkya Rahane (21) and 48 runs with Suresh Raina (34 no, 3×4, 1×6) for the second and third wickets respectively.

Kohli’s innings consisted of 11 boundaries and a six.

However, India couldn’t accelerate much towards the end as they could manage only 84 runs in the back 10, with a meagre 35 runs coming off last five overs.

Put in to bat, Gautam Gambhir (6) first got a reprieve when his mistimed pull-shot was dropped at deep mid-wicket by Shaminda Eranga. However the rookie pacer made amends as he bowled the senior opener, who again went for an identical shot only to see his stumps pegged back.

Kohli can do no wrong these days and he put the Lankans on the back foot with a flurry of boundaries. A couple off Angelo Mathews followed by three in the second over of Eranga.

Among the shots Kohli hit, a punchy cover drive off Mathews and a shot through point region were the stand-out ones.

The Delhi lad was off the blocks in a flash but the same can’t be said about Rahane who was finding it difficult to score runs on a good batting track.

Rahane finally got something going his way as he hit Thisara Perera over extra cover for a big six.

Kohli finally completed his maiden T20I half-century off 32 balls when he hit left-arm spinner Rangana Herath over extra-cover for a boundary.

The shot of the innings however was a six hit by Kohli off leggie Jeevan Mendis’ bowling. Mendis fired it down leg-side as the batsmen came down the track. Kohli maintained perfect balance as he converted it into an overpitched delivery hitting it over long-on.

He finally holed out in the deep off Eranga’s bowling when his cross-batted shot failed to clear the deep mid-wicket fielder. Kohli’s departure slowed down things as the Lankan bowlers were successful in bowling quite a number of dot balls.

Raina, who has been an effective T20 player, hit some crisp shots in between those dot balls, including a lofted six, as India crossed 150 in the final over. (PTI)

Brief Scores: India 155 for 3 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 68, Suresh Raina 34*; Shaminda Eranga 2 for 30) vs Sri Lanka

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