In one of the darkest on-field days in Sri Lankan cricket, two of their stars were stretchered off after a heavy collision in the outfield, before their batting lineup capitulated to the biggest loss in ODI history.
India won the toss and batted, and were cruising at 2-298 when a Virat Kohli pull shot ran away to the mid-wicket boundary.
In attempts to save the boundary and with both sets of eyes firmly focussed on the ball, Sri Lankan fielders Jeffrey Vandersay and Ashen Bandara collided heavily and were stretchered from the ground.
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The incident was eerily similar to the collision between Jason Gillespie and Steve Waugh in 1999 – which left Waugh with a broken nose and Gillespie a broken leg.
”There’s two fielders on the ground, that’s never ever a good sign,” Harsha Bhogle said in commentary.
“There are many happy sights on a cricket ground, but one sight you never want to see is a stretcher.”
To rub salt into the wound, the ball trickled into the boundary.
Both players were taken to hospital for scans, and thankfully both escaped serious injury.
Dunith Wellalage took Vandersay’s place as a concussion substitute while Bandara was replaced by Dhananjaya de Silva as a fielding substitute.
A short time later, Kohli scored his 46th ODI hundred, setting the Sri Lankans a mammoth 391 to win.
Kohli hit 166 not out off 110 balls, his second-highest ODI score. It was also his second hundred of the series and his third from his last four ODI innings.
Shubman Gill also scored his second ODI hundred.
In reply, Sri Lanka was rolled for just 73 runs in 22 overs. The 317-run margin of victory was the biggest ever recorded in ODIs.
India made a solid start after opting to bat. Gill put on 95 runs with skipper Rohit Sharma (42) for the first wicket.
After Sharma departed in the 16th over, Gill and Kohli put on 131 runs for the second wicket.
Gill scored 116 off 97 balls, notching up his century off 89 balls, hitting 14 fours and two sixes.
Kohli got to 50 off 48 balls with his century partnership with Gill coming off only 90 balls.
Later, he reached his ton off 85 balls. It was his 21st ODI hundred on Indian soil, the most by any batsman as he overtook Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 20 centuries.
It was also Kohli’s 10th ODI hundred against Sri Lanka, the most by any batsman against any team in this format.
Kohli stepped it up thereafter, scoring 50 off 21 balls, including six sixes. Overall, he hit 13 fours and eight sixes.
Kohli was named player of the match as well as player of the series.
“Ever since I came back from the long break, I have been feeling good. I don’t have the desperation to get to a milestone. I am enjoying my batting and trying to help the team as much as possible. I want this (run of form) to continue,” Kohli said, after the victory.
Shreyas Iyer scored 38 off 32 balls and added 108 off 71 balls with Kohli for the third wicket.
Sri Lankan batting folded meekly in reply to India’s mammoth total as Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami bowled belligerent opening spells, sharing six wickets.
Siraj took 4-32 while Shami returned 2-20. The tourists reached just 39-5 after 10 overs with just two top-order batsmen – Nuwanidu Fernando (19) and Dasun Shanaka (11) – reaching double figures in the one-sided encounter.
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