On a clear Sunday night, Indian gladiators dressed in blue had rocked the Sri Lankan Colosseum with bat and ball. The Sri Lankan warriors had fallen short of tactics to meaningfully stand up to the mighty Blues and leading them from the front was the Indian captain Virat Kohli. The R Premadasa Stadium was lit up by the blitzkrieg of Kohli’s second century of the series which helped him into the second place in the most-centuries hit by a player list, only behind the God of Cricket himself-Sachin Tendulkar. With this win, he became the first captain to clean sweep the hosts in a bilateral ODI series in Sri Lanka. The Indian captain and Kedar Jadhav stitched together a 108-run stand for the fourth wicket to put the hosts on the mat. However, Jadhav failed to stay alive until the end as he was dismissed with the Indian side needing just two runs to complete a 5-0 whitewash. With his dismissal walked in the man who is considered as the ‘world’s best finisher’- MS Dhoni. As the crowd held its breath to see yet another Dhoni style finish to the ODI series, usually a hoick over the ropes, he instead curbed his natural instinct and instead took just a single off the very first ball.
Upon reaching the non-striker’s end, the former Indian captain smiled at Kohli who acknowledged the gesture with the exact same expression. While the duo didn’t exchange any words, it was amply clear that Dhoni wanted Kohli to hit the winning runs after having played a stellar knock. Kohli didn’t opt for anything fancy, striking the ball straight down the ground to seal the win. We didn’t see it, but surely, there must have been a BIG thank you from the skipper for former Capt Cool! Both left the ground with huge grins on their faces.
It was a night for both the players to remember. While Kohli had got two records to his name, Dhoni also passed a career milestone when he stumped Akila Dananjaya off the bowling of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, his 100th in ODIs. Dhoni became the first to achieve the feat, surpassing former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara who had 99 stumpings to his credit.
The series win came after India swept the preceding three-Test rubber 3-0, capping their domination of the home side which has been beset by injury and selection woes. This was India’s second 5-0 whitewash in an away ODI series with Kohli’s men having blanked Zimbabwe in 2013. “It’s quite amazing to have won the series 5-0. We always thought the shorter format is going to be much more challenging,” said Kohli.