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Kohli, Ashwin inspire India win by four wickets

Youngster Virat Kohli and  Ravichandran Ashwin steer India to a four-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in their tri-series one-day international in Perth Wednesday.

Although Sachin Tendulkar again failed in his quest to score his long-awaited 100th international century, Kohli's impressive 77 ensured the Indians notched a comfortable win.

Sri Lanka made 233-8 after winning the toss and electing to bat, but India replied with 234-6, reaching the victory target with 20 balls to spare.


PIC/AFP

It was the first time the sides had met in a one-day international since last year's World Cup final, which India again won, that time by six wickets.

The Sri Lankan total never looked quite enough on a perfect Perth batting wicket and in front of a small crowd of 6,685 dominated by Indian fans.

They were desperate to see Tendulkar, the "Little Master", reach his long-awaited milestone and he appeared to be cruising towards his half-century.

But on 48 he dragged an Angelo Mathews delivery onto his stumps to make it 27 Test and one-day innings since his last century, last March at the World Cup.

Kohli, the only Indian centurion during the tourists' dismal 4-0 Test series loss to Australia, again upstaged his more celebrated team-mates, until he ran himself out and seemed to suffer a hamstring strain in doing so.

The 23-year-old was run out by a direct hit from Lasith Malinga at mid-on.

He had appeared to be suffering cramp late in his innings and had to be helped up from the ground after a despairing dive.

He faced 94 balls, hitting eight boundaries and one six.

India looked shaky at 181-6 when Kohli departed, but man-of-the-match Ravi Ashwin (30 not out) and Ravindra Jadeja (24 not out) guided them home.

Dinesh Chandimal's polished knock of 64 from 81 balls was the mainstay of the Sri Lankan innings and at least helped them post a competitive total.

Several of the Sri Lankan batsmen squandered promising starts, including opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (48) and veteran Kumar Sangakkara (26), but the 22-year-old Chandimal was the only one to reach 50.

However, he fell just as the Sri Lankans were trying to boost their run rate late in the innings, beaten in flight by the spin of Ashwin and comprehensively stumped by M.S. Dhoni in the 44th over.

Dhoni and Ashwin combined twice for stumpings, also removing Thisara Perera.

Ashwin, dropped from the Indian side for the third Test at the same venue last month, was the pick of the Indian bowlers with 3-32 from his 10 overs, while recalled paceman Zaheer Khan picked up 2-44 from 10 overs.

The loss continued a dismal record for Sri Lanka at the WACA, with just two one-day international wins in 16 matches.

The next match sees them face Australia at the same venue on Friday.

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