COLOMBO: Virat Kohli once again demonstrated his liking for the Sri Lankan bowling when he notched up his second century of the tour to guide India to a series-clinching win in the fourth one-day international on Tuesday.
Kohli and Suresh Raina made short work of Sri Lanka’s total of 251 for eight when they shared an unbroken partnership of 146 off 112 balls as India replied with 255 for four in 42.2 overs to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
The win was India’s 400th in one-day internationals.
Kohli smashed 128 not out off 119 balls, his 13th ODI hundred and his fifth against Sri Lanka.
Raina, living a charmed life after being given not out off an edge when on two and then dropped on 19 by Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene at slip, went onto score his third half-century of the series.
His 58 not out came off 51 balls and included four fours and one six.
India got off to a bad start when Gautam Gambhir was yorked by Lasith Malinga for a duck in the first over but Virender Sehwag (34) and Kohli steadied the innings with a stand of 52.
Although India lost a further two wickets, Rohit Sharma for four and Manoj Tiwary for 21, Kohli stood rock solid at one end to forge a match-winning partnership with Raina.
Part-time leg-spinner Tiwary had earlier tied down Sri Lanka with a career best spell of four for 61 after the hosts had won the toss and chose to bat first.
Tiwary, essentially a middle-order batsman, was one of four part-timers used by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to make up for the lack of a fifth bowler.
He took a wicket in his first over by having Dinesh Chandimal (28) caught at deep midwicket off a long hop and then proceeded to take the wickets of Angelo Mathews (14), Jeevan Mendis (17) and Thisara Perera (2).
Tiwary’s figures would have been much more impressive had it not been for the 18 runs taken off his final over by Sri Lanka’s ninth wicket pair of Rangana Herath and Lasith Malinga.
The two tailenders produced a stand of 32 off 18 balls to ensure Sri Lanka got past the 250-run mark after Upul Tharanga (51) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (42) had posted 91 for the first wicket.
The fifth and final one-day match is scheduled at Pallakele on Saturday.