COLOMBO, Sept 6, (AFP): Skipper Virat Kohli hit a blazing half-century as India completed their rout of Sri Lanka on this tour, winning the one-off Twenty20 by seven wickets in Colombo on Wednesday.
Chasing 171 for victory, India rode on a 119-run second-wicket stand between Kohli (82) and Manish Pandey (51 not out) to achieve their target with four balls to spare.
The visitors remained unbeaten in their nine matches against Sri Lanka as they won the Test and One-Day series 3-0 and 5-0 respectively.
“Very special, it (whitewash across formats) hasn’t been done before. Credit to all the hard work that the boys have put in over the past couple of months in all formats of the game,” said a delighted Kohli.
“That’s evidence of the fact how hungry the players are in Indian cricket. The bench strength is coming through so beautifully … results are amazing to see as a captain,” he added.
Kohli, who received the man of the match award, remained calm in a tricky chase with Pandey for company after India lost their openers for 42 runs in the sixth over.
Rohit Sharma fell to veteran paceman Lasith Malinga for nine and Lokesh Rahul was done in by a superb catch by Dasun Shanaka at short cover off Seekkuge Prasanna.
But Kohli took the attack to the opposition with 7 fours and a six during his 54-ball knock before falling to Isuru Udana with India requiring just 10 runs to win.
Pandey finished off the game with a boundary that brought his maiden T20 fifty in 36 balls.
“We knew one good partnership will get us through. So it was about staying calm in the middle … and Manish was outstanding today. That partnership was very crucial,” said Kohli.
Earlier leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal played his part by claiming three wickets to restrict Sri Lanka to 170-7 after being put into bat first.
Dilshan Munaweera hit a 29-ball 53 before Ashan Priyanjan scored a run-a-ball 40 not out to lift the Sri Lankan total after a middle-order collapse.
The hosts slipped from 99-3 to 113-6 before Priyanjan put on crucial partnerships with lower-order batsmen including a 36-run unbeaten stand with number nine Udana, who hit a 10-ball 19.
“We were 15-20 runs short. We had a good start. Munaweera batted really well, but we lost momentum from overs 10-14,” said a disappointed Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga.
“The way Virat batted was outstanding. He was an example for everyone, especially with his energy and running between the wickets,” he added.