HAMBANTOTA, July 21 (PTI): Virat Kohli notched up a brisk hundred, while Virender Sehwag missed his ton by a whisker as India posted a daunting 314 for 6 against Sri Lanka in the first one-dayer here today.
Kohli, who scored his fourth hundred in his last five innings today, was in sublime form and starred in a 173-run second wicket stand with Sehwag to lay the foundation for a big total here.
The 23-year-old Kohli blasted nine boundaries in his 113-ball innings, while Sehwag, who was dropped by Tillakaratne Dilshan on nought in the second over, had 10 boundaries in his 97-ball innings. India had a shaky start after skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (35) won the toss and elected to bat at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium here.
Sehwag looked rusty early on and got a respite initially but his partner Gautam Gambhir (3) was not lucky and was sent packing after being bowled while trying to work out a Kulasekara delivery square in the third over.
It was one down batsman Kohli who broke the shackles with a hard slash to bring up the first boundary through point, two balls later off Kulasekara.
The young right-hander picked up another boundary when he worked down a Malinga ball to fine leg in the fourth over.
Unusually restrained for long, Sehwag finally blasted two fours in the sixth over off Malinga. In the ninth over, the duo picked up two more boundaries before the opener smashed another four off Angelo Mathews over extra cover.
In the 11th over, Sehwag survived again when Kulasekara had almost caught him at mid-off and two balls later, Kohli too got a chance when Perera who failed to grab a difficult chance on his follow through.
In the 13th over, Sehwag hit Perera for a boundary at mid-on and then picked up another four over square leg in the 17th over off Herath. He picked up a single in the next ball to reach his fifth.
In the 19th over, Sehwag brought up the team 100 with a four at fine leg off Herath.
After the batting Powerplay, Dilshan and Herath checked the flow of runs a bit though Sehwag and Kohli were successful in taking singles and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Kohli brought up his fifth consecutive ODI fifty in the 23rd over with a single off Herath, before Sehwag sent Perera over mid-on for a four in the 28th over.
In the 30th over, Perera was once again in Sehwag�s firing line as he slashed a loose delivery from the bowler over point to pick up another four. Perera was again taken to task in the 32nd over, when Kohli picked up successive fours in his first two balls.
However, the Lankans broke the partnership in the next ball when Perera showed great athleticism to run out Sehwag at the non-striker�s end after their was a confusion between the batsmen for a single. Sehwag missed his century by four runs.
India: G Gambhir b Kulasekara 3, V Sehwag run out 96, V Kohli c sub b Perera 106, R Sharma b Mathews 5, S Raina c sub b Perera 50, MS Dhoni c Thirimanne b Perera 35, Irfan Pathan not out 7, R Aswhin not out 0. Extras: (B-1, LB-2, WD-7, NB-2) 12. Total: (For 6 wickets in 50 overs) 314. Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-180, 3-191, 4-228, 5-307, 6-307. Bowling: N Kulasekara 5-0-20-1, L Malinga 10-0-83-0, A Mathews 10-0-58-1, T Perera 10-0-70-3, T Dilshan 5-0-28-0, R Herath 10-0-52-0.