Mohali : 2nd ODI Rohit Sharma’s sparkling 208 not out ensured India ended up with a massive total of 392 for 4 versus Sri Lanka in the 2nd ODI played in Mohali, on Wednesday (December 13). This turned out to be Rohit’s third double hundred in ODI cricket (four others have one each) and he became only the second captain to crack a double ton in the 50-over format. Shikhar Dhawan (68) and Shreyas Iyer (88) also played crucial hands to help India bounce back after their poor performance in the first game.
After being surprisingly inserted into bat, India began rather sedately. The openers, Rohit and Dhawan, kept the scorecard ticking over with a diet of singles and twos. It was only in the 14th over when Dhawan opened up his shoulders by collecting three boundaries off Pradeep’s bowling. With an uncluttered technique, Dhawan continued to pile on the runs and soon reached his 23rd ODI fifty in the 15th over. Sri Lanka didn’t help their cause by testing the middle of the pitch.
It was only after the opening duo compiled a stand of 115, Dhawan was dislodged with Sachith Pathirana picking up the scalp. Shreyas Iyer, however, joined forces with Rohit to up the tempo. Rohit, then changed gears. The highlight of the middle part of the innings was the way he pulled Nuwan Pradeep off the front foot wide of long on.
Shreyas, his partner at the other end, also showed a glimpse of his skills with lofts and late cuts. Iyer completed his maiden ODI fifty in the 38th over with a nudge into the on side. Once Iyer completed his maiden half-century, he took his game to an elevated plane, including a stunning loft down the ground off Pathirana. He was eventually dislodged for a superbly paced innings.
Once Rohit completed his century, he was unstoppable as it rained fours and sixes from his willow. In the 44th over of the innings, he tonked Suranga Lakmal for four sixes. The carnage didn’t end there as he clubbed Pradeep into the stands to get to his 150.
With nine runs required to reach the landmark of 200, he crunched a six off Thisara Perera over long-off and completed the milestone with a single to midwicket. He would have had his heart in his mouth when a better throw from long off could have resulted in his run out on 197. As soon as he got to his double ton, he charged down the track to celebrate the landmark and his teammates gave him a standing ovation.
A couple of facts encapsulates Rohit’s complete domination. He completed the landmark of 100 in 115 deliveries and in his next 38 deliveries, he collected an astounding 108 runs. There was also a period of time when he clobbered six sixes off seven deliveries. Rohit batted like an artist who explored the full range of expression, combining finesse with mesmerising bat-swing and shot selection, merging discipline with desire.
On the other hand, it turned out to be a poor day in the office for Sri Lanka’s bowlers. Nuwan Pradeep ended up with chastening figures of none for 106 from 10 overs.
The deflated Sri Lanka side will have an uphill task on their hands to chase down the target. But the dream of winning a series against India in India for the first time could spur the visitors to do something special.
Brief scores: India 392/4 (Rohit Sharma 208*, Shreyas Iyer 88; Thisara Perera 3-80) vs Sri Lanka