Sehwag century powers India to record total
Virender Sehwag blazed to a career-best 146 to steer India to their highest one-day total of 414 for seven in 50 overs in the first One-Day International against Sri Lanka, in Rajkot, on Tuesday.
India started sedately after being asked to bat first by Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara with the openers raising only 19 in the first five overs as the ball was darting around a bit.
However, the next five overs yielded 52 runs. The Delhi dasher swung Chanaka Welegedara and then lofted the southpaw over extra cover for two fours to race to his half century in only 34 balls with the help of eight fours and two sixes.
India survived a thrilling Sri Lanka run chase to clinch a three-run win as the teams piled up more than 800 runs between them.
Image: Virender Sehwag
Tendulkar gives India good start
Sachin Tendulkar, playing his 437th ODI, guided two short deliveries off pacer Dilhara Fernando to the third man fence to complete his glittering career's 92nd fifty in 48 balls with nine fours.
Fernando got his revenge soon after as he disturbed Tendulkar's timber with a ball that kept low and came in too for 69 after the openers had put on 153 runs for the opening wicket.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Sehwag slams career-best 146
Sehwag swung Sanath Jayasuriya for a four and then hit Angelo Mathews for two successive fours to reach his 12th hundred off only 66 balls.
His second hundred against the visitors included 12 fours and five sixes.
Sehwag, 31, looked good to surpass the one-day record score of 194 until he edged a full toss from paceman Chanaka Welegedara to be caught at point in the 36th over for a career-best 146.
Image: Virender Sehwag
India post highest total in ODIs
Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit 72 in just 53 deliveries with seven fours and three sixes after promoting himself to number three but was caught in the next over after Sehwag's dismissal to give the visitors some respite.
At 311 for three in the 37th over, India looked set to surpass Sri Lanka's ODI record of 443, but were checked by some tighter bowling.
The total bettered India's record of 413-5 set against Bermuda at Port of Spain in the 2007 World Cup. It is also the highest notched against Sri Lanka, surpassing the 373 India made in the 1999 World Cup.
Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
SL openers thrash India's pacers
The Sri Lankan run chase began with a flourish as the two openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga tore the Indian bowling attack to shreds on a good batting strip.
None of the Indians bowlers could manage to stop the run flow in the early stages as both the batsmen unleashed a barrage of strokes.
Dilshan and Tharanga put on a rollicking 188-run opening partnership to provide the flatform for the mammoth run chase before the latter was was stumped off part-timer Suresh Raina for 67.
Image: Tillakaratne Dilshan
Dilshan proved unstoppable
Dilshan was proving to be unstoppable for the Indian bowlers as he completed his century off just 73 balls, having hit 16 boundaries and a six.
At the halfway stage, Sri Lanka looked on course to chase India's huge total as they crossed 200 in the 26th over.
Dilshan smashed a career-best 160 off 124 balls before he was bowled by Harbhajan Singh, who turned the match in India's favour as he claimed two for 58 in ten overs.
Image: Tillakaratne Dilshan celebrates completing his century
Sangakkara hits quickfire 90
Kumar Sangakkara continued his good recent run with the bat as he lashed 90 off 43 balls, inclusive of 10 fours and five sixes.
The Sri Lankan captain hit boundaries at will during his blazing 128-run second-wicket partnership with Dilshan.
The Lankan captain was nearing his century when he mistimed his pull and Ravindra Jadeja held on to a simple catch at the fence off Praveen Kumar.
Image: Kumar Sangakkara
India hold nerve at the end to seal victory
India snapped up four wickets within four overs to reduce it to 345 for five in the 41st over, but Thilina Kandamby (24) and Angelo Mathews (38) almost pulled it off until their dismissals in the end.
Mathews looked to be taking Sri Lanka to an unlikely victory before he was dismissed in the final over, caught at midwicket by Tendulkar off Nehra.
The visitors were restricted to 411 for eight after looking good to pull off the second-highest ODI run chase ever and then needing 11 runs in the final over and six off the last two deliveries.
Image: Zaheer Khan celebrates the wicket of Thilina Kandamby
India clinch three-run win in thrilling finish
It was only the second time that more than 800 runs were scored in a one-day match. The match between Australia and South Africa in Johannesburg in 2006 had produced 872 runs which is the highest so far.
The Indian fielding was once again below standards with quite a few catches being grassed and Dhoni said the team improved in the latter half of the match to escape with a victory.
"In the first 35 overs, we were not really up to the mark. Maybe we just accepted that the wicket had got better or maybe we were not focussed. But the way we bowled and fielded after that, was awesome," Dhoni said after the match.
Image: Indian team celebrates winning the first ODI