Mastercard ODI Series: Virat Kohli shines as India beat Sri Lanka by 67 runs in 1st ODI

A BATTING PERFORMANCE fitting for the occasion carried the day for India today, as they handily defeated Sri Lanka by 67 runs at the first ODI of the Mastercard Series in Guwahati.

A 143 run opening partnership between Rohit Sharma and Shubham Gill set the tone for the day and although most of the middle order did not deliver, it was Virat Kohli's record breaking century that got India to a total that could be defended with some room for error to boot.

Gill (70 off 60) got out in the 20th over to Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka (3-0-22-1) but the breakthrough didn't put any breaks on India's scoring rate. With Virat Kohli on the other end, Sharma picked up the pace until he got bowled by Dilshan Madushanka (6-0-43-1) at 83 off 67.

After this, it was up to Kohli to helm India's batting offensive. And he did so in style, with a landmark innings that landed him a record 20th century on home soil. He got out for 113 (off 87 balls, with 12 fours and 1 six) to Kasun Rajitha (10-0-88-3) but by this time India were already past the 350 run mark and ended at a formidable 373 for 7.

Sri Lanka came on to bat with a monumentous task at hand. But the start of the innings didn't go their way. Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis got out within the first six overs and although Charith Asalanka tried to put up a resistance, he too departed in the 14th over. Now at 64/3, Sri Lanka had already fallen far behind the required run rate.

Opener Passum Nisanka (72 off 80) and captain Dasun Shanaka (108 off 88 not out) put up some resistance. But at no point did the Lankans look like they were anywhere close to chasing down India's total. Umran Malik (8-0-57-3) and Mohammed Siraj (7-1-30-2) led India's bowling effort and made sure Sri Lanka were kept to a total of 306 after 50 overs.

The victory marks a solid start to India's campaign in the series; and if they manage to repeat even half of this performance in Kolkata on Thursday that should be enough to win them the tournament.

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