“90% of us started our careers under you. You will always remain our captain,” said Kohli before handing Dhoni the framed memento. © BCCI

“90% of us started our careers under you. You will always remain our captain,” said Kohli before handing Dhoni the framed memento. © BCCI

To mark MS Dhoni’s 300th One-Day International, Virat Kohli presented the former skipper with a platinum-gilded miniature bat before the start of the fourth ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium on Thursday (August 31).

Before handing Dhoni the framed memento in the team huddle, Kohli said: “90% of us started our careers under you. It’s an honour to give this memento to him. You will always remain our captain.”

Dhoni became the sixth Indian after Mohammad Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, and Yuvraj Singh to reach the milestone, and celebrated the occasion with a calculated unbeaten 49 from 42 balls in India’s 168-run win.

“Obviously it was inspirational,” said Manish Pandey, who added an unbeaten 101 for the sixth-wicket with Dhoni. “To see someone like that playing with you… To play 300 ODIs is a lot of experience. You just learn so much by just looking at the way he conducts himself. Yeah, it is always inspirational, especially for a guy like me who started my career under him.”

Dhoni fell short of his 100th international half-century by one run. Of his 99 international half-centuries, 33 have come in Tests, 65 in ODIs and one in Twenty20 Internationals.

During Thursday’s innings, Dhoni went past Shaun Pollock and Chaminda Vaas to have the most unbeaten knocks — 73. Dhoni now has 9657 ODI runs at an average of 52.20 and a strike rate of 88.58.

Also on Thursday, Shardul Thakur, the debutant paceman from Mumbai, was handed his ODI cap by Ravi Shastri, the head coach. Thakur, who became the 218th player to represent India in ODIs, returned figures of 1 for 26 from seven overs. He picked up his maiden scalp in the third over of Sri Lanka’s chase after Niroshan Dickwella gloved a ball down the leg-side to Dhoni. The umpire called it a wide, but India reviewed the decision on Dhoni’s insistence, and came away with the wicket.