Kohli equals Lara, smashes 19th ODI ton in India victory

(Cricinfo) The Fatullah crowd waited for Virat Kohli to reach his 19th ODI hundred, and started heading for the exit soon after he reached the landmark. India still needed 77 from 12.3 overs in a chase that, if statistics were anything to go by, still had some juice remaining. They had every right to leave, however, as the India captain made 136 and easily brought out a six-wicket win.

Bangladesh’s bowling attack hardly put a dent in the record 213-run third-wicket partnership, barely creating a chance that could keep the spectators on their seats for the entire game. Instead, the ground had almost emptied by the time India completed the win in 49 overs. This, after Bangladesh had posted 279 for 7 with captain Mushfiqur Rahim making 117.

This was the just the second time in ODI history that both captains scored hundreds in the same game. While Mushfiqur’s century was about redemption after a series of controversies, Kohli ensured he wasn’t trumped by his opposite number, particularly in a situation which favours him.

But the crux of the chase was with Kohli’s regular mastery of the situation. He neither panics, nor takes things too lightly. His batting has the assuredness that every international team craves for, particularly when they have to chase high totals.

Kohli has now equaled Brian Lara in the all-time list of hundreds in ODIs. Thirteen of the 19 have come while chasing.

Only once has he failed, incidentally his last hundred earlier this year against New Zealand. This one ended on 122 balls, having struck 16 fours and two sixes.

Against a team that had thrice previously failed to defend scores in excess of 250 against India, this innings and the dominance under the lights was inevitable. Very much like most of Kohli’s one-day centuries these days.

From 54 for 2 in the 13th over, Kohli took advantage of every loose ball that came his way, be it deliveries sliding down the leg side or those gone wide. When Bangladesh stopped giving him room or letting him curl his forearms, he unleashed the cover drive time and again. The rasping speed takes it past cover as soon as the fielder gets into position, and by the time the long-off fielder has taken a few steps to his left, the umpire signals four.

He reached his fifty off 48 balls in the 25th over, and his hundred off 95 balls in the 38th over. It was that easy. Ajinkya Rahane held it together at the other end, never giving away any advantage as he ensured Kohli was fed as much strike as possible. He made 73 off 83 balls, his fourth ODI fifty.

The first two wickets, through Abdur Razzak and Ziaur Rahman, were all Bangladesh could muster when the game was still in their grasp. Left-arm spinner Razzak is Bangladesh’s most successful bowler in the second innings, but he went for 55 in his 10 overs, not beating Kohli and Rahane regularly enough.

Mashrafe was decent without any menace while Sohag Gazi continued his ordinary form, going wicketless in his first six overs, only picking up Rahane towards the end. His first delivery to Kohli was a rank long-hop, a nightmare which only Varun Aaron could relate to.

Mushfiqur’s second ODI century, and his 133-run third wicket stand with Anamul Haque gave Bangladesh a competitive total. The pair came together in the 13th over after Shamsur Rahman could not handle Shami’s extra bounce in the sixth over and Mominul Haque had clumsily got himself stumped off an inside edge off R Ashwin.

Anamul was more aggressive at the start of the partnership. He was particularly harsh on Aaron, picking up 34 runs off 19 deliveries from the pace bowler. Mushfiqur recovered his scoring rate at the latter end of the stand. Their partnership was the highest by a Bangladeshi pair against India, and the eighth century stand against today’s winners.

Anamul struck two sixes with equal contempt off Aaron, both over long-on. He moved to his fifty with a straight six off Ashwin, who remained a quiet presence through the Bangladesh innings.

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