Rohit Sharma announced his return to the India side in storming fashion. After a nervy start, he first took control of himself and then controlled the entire match. In the process, he emerged as ODI history’s highest run-getter with 264 runs, leaving Virender Sehwag 45 runs behind. The sledge-hammer batting from Sharma completely demoralized Sri Lanka as India piled up 404/5. The target of 405 was too stiff for Sri Lanka as they could only muster 251 before being bowled out. With the victory at the Eden Gardens, India continued the demolition of the Sri Lankans after wrapping up the series in the last game at Hyderabad. It began at Mumbai’s Brabourne stadium on October 30th, where Sri Lanka played their tour opener against India-A, led by Manoj Tewary. But Rohit Sharma was also part of that team. He showed that he had recovered from the finger injury by scoring a 111-ball 142 with 18 fours and a six. India-A finished with 382/6 in 50 overs and beat Sri Lanka by 88 runs. India’s batsmen have done well in the series and Sri Lanka have not found the proper foothold. With the result all of India’s victories have been emphatic against a side that is not considered weak by ODI playing nations.
India won the toss and batted first. Dhawan’s place was taken by Rohit Sharma with the series safely tucked under. After a 10-week finger-injury lay-off, Sharma showed nerves in his start. Rahane blasted Kulasekara in his first over and took 13 with three fours while Sharma was content in playing second fiddle. After 4 overs India were 22/0 but Sharma had made only 4 in 15 balls with two singles and a couple. Then he swung to a widish delivery from Shaminda Eranga and got lucky, when Thisara Perera dropped him at third man. India lost two quick wickets, when Rahane and Rayudu got out in quick succession. Kohli joined Sharma at 59/2 in the 14th over. The two batsmen batted cautiously and at the end of 20 overs, India’s score could only reach 89/2. Sharma was on just 41 off 62 balls at this stage. But soon he reached his half century. After 25 overs, India’s score was 122 and it was difficult to fathom if they could even reach 300. However, a couple of overs later, the batsmen began to open out. In 29th and 30th overs, Kohli and Sharma took 11 and 16 runs respectively. Sharma reached his century in the 32nd over and by now he was already scoring run-a-ball. Runs began to flow from this point onwards and India reached 275/3 at the end of 40 except that Kohli had gone back by then. Raina was now Sharma’s company and the two kept going. But Sharma didn’t need anyone now because even after Raina left, he kept blasting the bowlers at will. He reached his second ODI double century in the 46th over. In the 47th, he took 14 runs and 23 and 20 in the next two. Robin Uthappa enjoyed Sharma’s batting from the end as India crossed 400 in the 50th over and Sharma finally got out of innings’ last ball for a monumental personal score of 264.
Sri Lanka had a tough task on hand in chasing 405 and they began by losing 4 wickets for 48 runs in the 10th over. To their credit, they denied an early end to the match as Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne compiled 118 for the fifth wicket against the charged up Indian bowlers. But when the Powerplay was taken, both batsmen fell to Dhawal Kulkarni in a space of four balls. The Sri Lanka tail was now exposed and 187 were still required for victory in 13.4 overs. Dhawal Kulkarni hastened up the end by removing two more wickets and finished with impressive match figures of 4 for 34 that helped India crush Sri Lanka yet again.
In the end, the match truly belonged to Rohit Sharma for his 173 ball 264 that included 33 fours and 9 sixes. Sharma was playing for India after a long lay-off and although he had shown sign of trouble early on, he settled into a rhythm later in the innings. He came off with flying colors to not only become the only batsman in the world to score two ODI double-centuries but he also broke the record for the highest score in this format of the game.
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