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One-off T20: Pathan, Kohli star in India's comprehensive win over Sri Lanka

Irfan Pathan's brilliant opening spell and Virat Kohli's fine half-century ensured India comprehensively beat Sri Lanka by 39 runs in the one-off T20 international at Pallekele tonight and ended its Sri Lanka tour on a winning note.

Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals and never appeared to be in the hunt managing to score a paltry 116 all out.

India's pacers came to the party taking eight wickets. Pathan derailed the Sri Lankan chase claiming the scalps of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga, before dismissing Mahela Jayawardene to leave the hosts tottering at 35 for three by the fifth over. Ashok Dinda then cleaned up the tail to end with figures of 4 for 19 from three overs.

Irfan
Irfan Pathan (centre) celebrates after dismissing Upul Tharanga (Right). Pic/AFP 

Angelo Mathews with 31 runs off 29 balls offered some resistance, but Sri Lanka could never recover from Pathan's early breakthroughs and collapsed to their fourth straight loss of the tour against India.

Earlier, sent in to bat, India had Kohli to thank as the in-form batsman hit a fine 68 as India scored 155 for three against Lanka.

Kohli, who is in divine form, 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, 3x4, 1x6) 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. 

Opener Gautam Gambhir (6) 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 Gambhir, who again went for an identical shot only to see his stumps pegged back. 

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli raises his bat to acknowledge the crowd after scoring a half-century during a Twenty20 match between Sri Lanka and India at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. PicAFP

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.

The Delhi lad 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.

Brief Scores:

India: 15 for 3 in 20 overs. (Virat Kohli 68; Suresh Raina 34 not out; S Eranga 2/30).

Sri Lanka: 116 all out. (Angelo Amthews 31, Mahela Jayawardene 28;  A Dinda 4/19, Irfan Pathan 3/27) 

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