Mumbai | Virat Kohli once again missed out on a record equalling 49th ODI hundred but Indian batters made merry on a flat deck to score a mammoth 357 for 8 against Sri Lanka in a World Cup match here on Thursday.
Kohli (88 off 94 balls), who previously missed out on equalling Sachin Tendulkar's 49th ODI ton, against New Zealand in Dharamsala, enjoyed a 189-run second wicket stand with his heir apparent Shubman Gill, who looked a million dollars during his run-a-ball 92.
After a mini-slump, it was Shreyas Iyer (82 off 56 balls), who feasted against a mediocre bowling attack on a placid track, to get some form back before the match against South Africa at Eden Gardens, which will be played on a spicier track.
Starting briskly with a flurry of sixes, Iyer's innings was instrumental in taking India past 350 after they lost both Gill and Kohli in quick succession. His innings featured six sixes and three fours.
Dilshan Madushanka (5/80 in 10 overs), who bowled a peach of a delivery to get skipper Rohit Sharma (4) first up, also denied all three Indian batters, what would have been deserving hundreds. He used the slower cutters and bouncers to good effect during his second and third spells.
Kohli and Gill weathered the storm adequately well to get through the initial overs and piled up a mountain of runs to put India on top.
In the sixth over, Dushmantha Chameera almost had Kohli's wicket but could not hold on to a return catch on his follow-through which saw the ball popping out.
Beginning with a risk-free approach, Kohli and Gill stitched India's highest-ever partnership in this World Cup for any wicket, putting on 189 runs from just 179 balls for the second wicket as India took complete control.
Kohli looked primed to equal the legendary Tendulkar's tally of most ODI centuries but met with a soft end, lobbing a straight catch to cover after a masterful 88 from 94 balls which included 11 fours. The ball stopped on him as he was committed on the drive but it hit the upper part of the blade to balloon up.
Gill started slowly but produced a compelling knock that brought him close to his first century of the tournament. Gill's first runs came off the ninth ball that he faced, but there was no stopping the fluent batter once he pulled Madushanka with command for a four to mid-wicket and followed up with a fabulous backfoot punch on the next delivery.
Gill also looked set for his first ton of the tournament but looking to guide a bouncer from Madushanka, he was cramped for room and caught behind for a run-a-ball 92 featuring 11 fours and two sixes.