1st ODI : Glad I could play at tempo of the game and we got 370 plus : Virat Kohli

Guwahati : After smashing his 45th ODI century in the series opener against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, Virat Kohli said he was glad to have played at the tempo of the game to make two hundreds in a row in the format and propel India to a score of above 370, here.

Having broken his century drought of three years in ODIs against Bangladesh in December 2022, the former India hit back to back centuries after scoring 113 against Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the three-match series.

Kohli now has 45 ODI hundreds, moving one step closer to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries. “I have had a bit of a break, a couple of practice sessions before this game.

I have come mentally fresh after the Bangladesh tour where things didn’t quite go to plan for me in the second half. I was quite excited for the home season to start and was just hitting the ball really well in the nets.

The way openers played, it allowed me to play my game at my own pace and be positive from the get go because we were under pressure. I had to bat through the innings as I always do in ODIs but still manage to keep my strike-rate in check because we needed the big score and dew was going to be a factor.

I am glad I could play at the tempo of the game and make sure we not just got 340, but 370 plus,” Kohli said in a mid-innings chat with the broadcasters. Kohli’s century was his ninth ton against Sri Lanka in ODIs and went past Tendulkar’s milestone.

His knock of 113, laced with 12 fours and a six, had glimpses of his old vintage self. He also had luck on his side, dropped on 52 and 81, which he was quick to acknowledge. “I will take those any day.

Luck is important, it plays a big part and you can just thank God that in evenings like this, it goes your way. We tend to get frustrated when luck doesn’t go our way, but evenings like this are very important to remember as well, where I could have got out for 50-odd and ended up getting a hundred,” he said.

“I am pretty aware of that and I am just grateful for this little bit of luck today, and bow my head and accept it. But more importantly, I am glad we have the extra 20-25 runs, and get more than 250 here because it will be crucial here,” he added.

With dew a certainty in Guwahati, Kohli feels defending a total like 373 will give bowlers much-needed experience on bowling with the wet ball. “In that game (at the venue against West Indies in 2018), we were chasing 330-odd (323).

We got those runs pretty easily because Rohit and I (Kohli made 140) were in good flow, and he ended up playing throughout the innings and finished off the game too (151 not out).

We batted at a high strike-rate throughout the innings,” the 34-year old said. “To chase down this total, someone has to get 150 and 140, which will be tough here. But it also gives our bowlers a chance to bowl with dew coming into play and practice on the areas they want to bowl in conditions like this.

Hitting those areas and ensuring we restrict those runs as much as possible will also give them confidence to bowl in these conditions,” he added. Kohli signed off by emphasising on the importance of nutrition at the current stage of his career.

“I am quite aware of what I eat, diet is the most important thing as far as I am concerned at this age, like getting into 30s and the mid-stage,” he said. “That keeps me in prime shape because you need the right nutrition in terms of controlling your weight and fat percentage, but also the stuff that gives you energy on the field.

I am always fresh now mentally to go out there and put my best foot forward. That helps me give my 100 percent for the team,” he added.



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