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Virat Kohli scored 144 runs to lead India’s successful run chase © AFP

Birmingham: Jun 1, 2013

Sparkling tons from Virat Kohli (144) and birthday boy Dinesh Karthik (106) saw India successfully chasing Sri Lanka’s score of 333 in the warm-up match of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 at Brimingham on Saturday.
 
India’s other top order batsmen though failed to capitalise on the opportunity thanks to some poor decisions.
 
Shikhar Dhawan was run-out by a brilliant throw from Shaminda Eranga. The batsman tried to sneak a single by pushing the ball towards mid-on and was found short of his crease. Even Murali Vijay (18) didn’t last long as he tried to check his shot while playing on the up and lobbed up an easy catch to Lahiru Thirimanne.
 
Rohit Sharma looked like being back to square one as a reckless pull shot saw him throw his wicket away. Raina then continued for a while and looked in good touch before completely missing the line trying to loft Sachithra Senanayake. Raina scored 34 runs.
 
It was the fifth wicket partnership of 186 runs between Kohli and Karthik that soothed the nerves reaffirming India’s batting prowess on the English pitches.
 
Karthik continued his good nick from the IPL and played a fluent century knock of 106 runs.
 
On his birthday, Karthik looked like a batsman brimming with confidence being absolutely fearless in taking calculated risks every over. Meanwhile, Kohli hit some delightful shots with delicate wristwork bringing back memories of the sparkling knock of 183* against the same opposition in March 2012 at Hobart.
 
The duo found the fence at ease with Karthik being the more aggressive of the two. Moreover, most of their shots were all along the ground. With this knock, Karthik has made a strong case for being included in the playing XI for the main draw. The intensity with which the two batsmen approached the chase made it look like an official match.
 
While the spinners had a tough time containing both the batsmen, the medium pace of Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera too didn’t have much effect.
 
Once the batting powerplay commenced after the 35th over, the batsmen upped the ante. Kohli completed his ton in the 37th over with a gentle stroke to long-on. With a successful run chase, the Indian strategy yet again tilts towards a strong batting backing up for a not so threatening bowling attack.
 
Kohli was eventually dismissed for 144 off 120 balls by Eranaga. His innings included 11 hits to the fence apart from three sixes. By the time he was dismissed, the match was firmly in India’s clutches. Karthik reached his century in just 79 deliveries as India inched closer to the target.
 
The bowling department was yet again found wanting as the Lankan batsmen carted all of them with none of them appearing threatening enough. At one moment it appeared as though the only way a batsman would walk back was after being retired hurt to give other batsmen an opportunity.
 
Young left-hander Kusal Perera (82) and seasoned Tillakaratne Dilshan took the Indian bowling attack to the cleaners at the beginning followed by some handy knocks from Mahela Jayawardene (30) and Kumar Sangakkara (45). Dilshan top-scored with 84 runs.
 
Seamers Pathan (0/45), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/58), Ishant Sharma (1/41) weren’t consistent with their length while spin trioka of Ravichandran Ashwin (0/45), Ravindra Jadeja (0/41) and Amit Mishra (1/53) also failing to make inroads.
 
With the ball nicely coming onto the bat and not much assistance from the pitch for the bowlers the batsmen had a good time at the crease. Dinesh Chandimal (46) also got much needed batting practice.
 
India now play their next warm-up tie against Australia on fourth of June before playing their first tie of the ICC Champions Trophy against South Africa.
 
Brief scores:
 
Sri Lanka 334 for 3 in 50 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 84 retired out, Kusal Perera 82 retired out, Dinesh Chandimal 46, Kumar Sangakkara 45) lost to India 337 for 5 in 49 overs (Virat Kohli 144, Dinesh Karthik 106*; Shaminda Eranga 2 for 60) by 5 wickets

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