Kolkata: There should never have been any doubt that India would chase down Sri Lanka’s 315 for six. Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli played strokes of great skill and daring, reflecting the mental makeup of modern-day batsmen.
Their double-century stand eased India to a seven-wicket win at the Eden Gardens on Thursday. With the win, India clinched the series 3-1 with one game to go in New Delhi on Sunday. Gambhir was unbeaten on a splendid 137-ball 150.
The third-wicket partnership acquired a great deal of momentum when Gambhir and Kohli put on 50 runs off 34 balls. The duo’s pacing was admirable with the 150-run partnership achieved off 142 balls.
When the 200-mark was easily breached, Sangakkara looked to Tillakaratne Dilshan for the breakthrough. It very nearly worked when the off-spinner induced an edge from Kohli, but the captain fumbled.
A chastening pull off Jayasuriya put Kohli in the 90s. Gambhir was into the 90s himself with a punch through square for a boundary. After teasing the restless crowd with singles, Kohli and Gambhir brought up their centuries off successive deliveries off Dilshan.
Kohli’s magnificent innings ended when he went for the heave over long-on, for substitute Muthumudalige Pushpakumara to cling on to it just in front of the ropes. But Gambhir appeased fears with a fearsome hit over mid-wicket and the much-loved upper-cut, off debutant Thissara Perera, both fetching him boundaries.
A few scintillating boundaries later, India was home, finishing with the highest total at the Eden Gardens. — Nandita Sridhar