Pallekele: Virat Kohli's fine half-century and Irfan Pathan's opening spell helped India beat Sri Lanka by 39 runs in the one-off Twenty20 International played here today.
Riding on Kohli's well-crafted 68, the Indians managed to put up a respectable 155 for three. In reply, Sri Lanka were bundled out for 116 in 18 overs, largely due to Pathan (3/27) and career-best effort of four for 19 by Ashok Dinda.
Pathan bowled a fine opening spell as he dismissed Tillekaratne Dilshan (0), Upul Tharanga (5) and the dangerous Mahela Jayawardene (26, 5x4) during his first spell of three overs. If Pathan ran through the top-order, Dinda cleaned up the lower order, taking the last three wickets without conceding a run.
Aided by condition that helped seamers, Pathan repeatedly swung the ball back into the right handers as he induced Dilshan into playing across the line and getting him castled in the process. Left-hander Tharanga got a ball that swung away from him as he went for a drive only to offer a simple catch to first slip.
Jayawardene, who hit Umesh Yadav for four boundaries in an over, got one from Pathan that came back to hit him on the pads. The Lankan skipper wasn't happy as he felt that the delivery might have been missing the leg-stump.
At 35 for three, Lahiru Thirimanne (20) and Angelo Mathews (31) joined hands to add 33 runs before Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed the former who went for an ambitious reverse sweep. At 68 for four, things looked ominous for the islanders.
Mathews edged one to Dhoni off Dinda and Jeevan Mendis hit one from Yadav straight to Rahane at covers. At 100 for six, the Lankans could hardly do anything better than wait for the inevitable.