Hobart: Virat Kohli, who smashed an unbeaten 133 to guide India to a morale-boosting victory over Sri Lanka in a crunch tri-series match on Tuesday, said that his side remained confident of winning the tie in 40 overs and they took it as playing two Twenty20 games.

India needed to overhaul the target of 321 in 40 overs to get a bonus point and stay afloat in the tournament, which they did eventually in 36.4 overs and with seven wickets remaining.

"We looked to get one boundary in an over, keep playing an over at a time, and if you need 100 runs from the last 10 overs, it was very gettable. So we took it as two Twenty20 games," said Kohli whose 86-ball knock ensured that India beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets and also earn a bonus point.

"Initially, we had the plan to play 10 overs of powerplay. Then the next five we would consolidate and run hard between the wickets and then take the batting powerplay assuming they would take 15-20 overs as bowling powerplay," he told reporters at the post-match press conference.

"But that didn't happen, they didn't take bowling powerplay. The message came from the dressing room you don't need to take batting powerplay. Just keep playing and keep wickets in hand," he said.

Kohli described his whirlwind knock as the best innings of his international career.

"It has to be the best ODI hundred. Not probably the way I batted but given the kind of game we were playing," said Kohli.

"I told Gautam I can feel I am pretty set. I am confident and I can go for it. I would keep one end positive so we don't lose too many wickets. It's all about communication. One guy needs to keep it solid and the other needs to keep rotating the strike," he said.

The 23-year-old right-handed batsman said he was told by his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni not to throw wickets and try to negotiate the difficult period of his innings.

"In the last game, MS (Dhoni) told me it's probably three occasions when you have been hitting the ball beautifully and you have got out on 20. You are hitting ball well, you need to stick it out on those tough periods. I kept that in mind.

"I knew even if I was to get 30 runs all edges, might be all singles to third man, I might be driving and edging it every time, I have to stick in, I don't have to throw it away," said Kohli.

Kohli admitted he did not think a lot about this game as he was feeling mentally tired and sad.

"To be honest, it's mentally very tiring. If you are winning, you can stay for five months. When you are not doing well, it's difficult to hold yourself mentally. Physically, it's not that difficult because you have breaks. But to hold yourself mentally is the biggest challenge for a cricketer.

"I wouldn't say I wasn't feeling mentally tired and mentally sad sometimes. But there is no running away from it. Sometimes, if you are not playing well, if you are committing same mistake, you tend to go into a shell, which is really difficult to come out. You need to take that extra like we did today to come out of that shell. I am feeling less tired now," said Kohli.

Asked what did he do to come out of the shell, Kohli said, "I did nothing. I didn't talk to anyone about cricket. I got a call from home, someone wanted to discuss cricket, I hung up in 10 seconds. I was like, please don't talk about cricket, please don't tell me you have to do it in the last game because we were not even thinking about it.

"We were trying to be as relaxed as possible. To be honest, we didn't have anything to lose, this was one game for us, we had to give it our all. We wanted to enjoy it as much as possible. I think it's going to lift the spirit of the team, the mood in the dressing room is amazing right now."

Kohli said that his side would now try to be as expressive in the finals, if they make it, as they were today.

"We are going to think each game as last for us. Every game is a do or die for us. We are going to be expressive I can assure you. We are not going to think twice or hesitate. If we reach the finals, we are going to play like today.

"If this was our last match, it's important for India after the kind of season we had to have a win like this, especially in Australia. I hope we make the finals, if not we take lot of positives, just to reflect what kind of cricketers we are and what kind of cricket we can play," he said.

Kohli's handling of Lasith Malinga was vital to India's chances and he seems to do it regularly against the 'yorker man' from Sri Lanka.

"He's very difficult to get away, once you get on top of it, you make sure it stays that way. They persisted with him even when he gave 24 runs because they knew he could get them wickets. I was hitting the ball well, he was bringing it in, it's my natural shot.

"I probably got the balls in the right areas. If you start executing the shots, it's not easy for bowlers to get yorkers right. I knew he would go for yorkers because he would go for yorkers because he needs wickets. If he doesn't execute them, then I have the upper hand. So I had that in my mind but I stayed very calm at that stage.

"My natural movement is back and across. I don't need to go too deep into the crease. I am anyway back on my crease, on these sort of quick wickets. You need your backfoot play, to rock back on backfoot as soon as possible. I had that in mind all this tour of Australia so my initial movement."

Kohli said he wasn't sure if he would watch his innings which included desperate dives, giving him painful bruises.

"It shows how badly I didn't want to throw it away. Two times I felt like someone had pushed me. You have only one game left to play, so there's nothing you can be casual or lazy. You need to give it all. I haven't watched my batting. If it is coming on TV I would watch. If everyone is watching, I would watch. I would go with the flow," he said.

(Agencies)