Kohli overshadows Kumar in India win
Virat Kohli's fourth century in his last five innings helped India to beat Sri Lanka by 21 runs in their opening one-day international in Hambantota on Saturday.
Kohli's knock of 106 and a further 96 from Virender Sehwag helped India reach 314 for six after batting first. The two men shared a 173-run stand for the second wicket after India lost a wicket having scored only seven runs.
Though Kumar Sangakkara hammered a valiant 133, Sri Lanka managed only 293 for nine in its 50 overs. The home side looked never in the chase except when Sangakkara and Thisara Perera, who made 44 off just 28 balls, were together until the 48th over.
Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin and Umesh Yadav picked up two wickets each as India made a winning start to the five-match series.
Pathan, a left-arm seamer, struck early for India with his second delivery of the match, trapping the dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan for six runs with the total on just nine. Sangakkara then combined with opener Upul Tharanga for a promising 77-run partnership for the second wicket.
Tharanga (28) was out next trying to cut a ball from spinner Ashwin close to his body for a catch to Sehwag at slip. A string of low scores from the top order followed with four of them combining for just 39 runs.
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Sangakkara and Perera lifted Sri Lanka's hopes with a partnership of 78 runs in 53 balls, but the pair needed to score more than 11 runs an over to win the match - which proved too much to ask.
Sangakkara's dismissal by Yadav, after facing 151 balls and hit 12 boundaries, effectively sealed the match for India with less than three overs to go.
Earlier, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected bat for his team's first match at Hambantota.
However, it started badly when opener Gautam Gambhir was out for three runs. But Kohli and Sehwag steadied the innings and negated Sri Lanka's early advantage.
Sehwag scored his 96 off just 97 balls before being run out. He started off for a single at the non-striker's end after Kohli played the ball, but Perera was able to hit the stumps.
Kohli was caught by substitute fielder Sachithra Senanayake off a slow delivery from seam bowler Perera. It was Kohli's fourth century in five innings, three of them against Sri Lanka.
"I have been very fortunate to have done well for the team," Kohli said. "I get really motivated when I play for India, when I put on the India jersey it's a pride for me, a responsibility and honor."
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said the failure of his top order to support Sangakkara and sloppy fielding cost them the match.
He said, however, he was happy at being able to get close to India's total.
"Even the fielding probably let us down. We take a lot of pride in our fielding. We have to refocus on the things we need to do and come back strong. We are playing against a good team, a quality team so we can't make too many mistakes."
Sri Lanka looked to be coming back in the game after picking up three wickets for 48 runs, to leave India on 228-4.
However, Suresh Raina and Dhoni shared 79 runs off just 54 balls to help India set a daunting total.
Perera returned Sri Lanka's best bowling figures with 3-70, while the team's main strike bowler, Lasith Malinga, was expensive in conceding 83 runs off his 10 overs. Nuwan Kulasekara bowled just five overs after being injured attempting a catch.
SRI LANKA: WU Tharanga, TM Dilshan, KC Sangakkara†, DPMD Jayawardene*, LD Chandimal, AD Mathews, HDRL Thirimanne, NLTC Perera, KMDN Kulasekara, SL Malinga, HMRKB Herath
INDIA: V Sehwag, G Gambhir, V Kohli, RG Sharma, SK Raina, MS Dhoni*†, IK Pathan, R Ashwin, Z Khan, UT Yadav, PP Ojha