Propelled by Rohit Sharma’s magnificent double-century, India marched to a 153-run win in Kolkata. While Eden Gardens celebrated 150 years, Rohit lit-up the stadium with a well paced 264 off 173 to make the occasion memorable. In doing so, he etched his name in the history books by posting the highest individual score in ODI cricket and became the only batsman to post two double hundreds in the 50-over format till date. It was breathtaking knock by the opener that set-up the match for India. The hosts then bowled the visitors out for 251 to take a 4-0 lead in the series.
Coming out to open with Ajinkya Rahane after India elected to bat, Rohit made the Sri Lankans regret the missed chance to send him back when he was batting on four. The opener taking the aerial route was dropped by Thisara Perera at third-man.
Having received a life, Rohit who was back in the side after an injury layoff bided his time at the crease and paced his innings after that. Rahane meanwhile had got the hosts off to a flying start by milking Nuwan Kulasekara in the first over. He struck the bowler through square-leg for four and claimed two more boundaries while collecting 14 runs off the over. He continued being the aggressor until he was adjudged lbw on 28 off Angelo Mathews. And 19 runs later, Ambati Rayudu found his off-stump knocked off with a pitched up delivery by Shaminda Eranga.
Virat Kohli then joined Rohit in shaping the Indian innings. Having had the measure of the Sri Lankan attack which lacked sting, they built a partnership and laid the platform for a big total. After taking the team past the three-figure mark, Rohit soon brought up his fifty off 72 deliveries with a single. From there on there was no looking back for the opener. He came down the track to the spinners and having found his niche, he claimed a boundary almost every over. With Rohit looking set for a bigger knock, Kohli took the batting power play in the 30th over. Having played themselves in, the pair took apart the attack in the five-over period and set the tone of the rest of the game. Rohit smashed Kulasekara through point for four and then a six over mid-wicket finished off by driving the bowler to the fence to claim 16 off the over. And an over later, Rohit who had changed gears reached his 100 off as many balls. Taking India past 200 the pair claimed 57 runs during the period.
The partnership continued to flourish as Rohit continued to take the SL attack apart. The opener had changed to the fifth gear and runs began to flow for India at a quick pace. With fielding lapses to add to their woes, the visitors were at sea as the opener controlled the innings. While Kohli brought up his fifty, Rohit who was in sublime touch reached 150 off just 125 deliveries. However, three balls later with the partnership worth 202, Kohli was run out while running for a second.
An over later, a superb catch by Mahela Jayawardene sent back Suresh Raina who had attacked from the word go for 11. With a little over ten overs left, Robin Uthappa joined Rohit in setting the tourists an insurmountable target.
With Rohit in form, the wicketkeeper batsman rotated the strike as the opener continued to hit the bowlers to all parts of the ground. Leading the way for the home team, Rohit smacked Mathews for a six over long-off as he held the audience in awe of his effortless batting. In the following over he dismissed Ajantha Mendis to the fence on either side of the wicket, and sent him down the leg side as he swept and cut the bowler to claim four boundaries in the over and enter the 190s. On the brink of another double-century in one-day format Rohit was set to make history.
And an over later he re-wrote the books; he drove Kulasekara through covers to reach 200 with a boundary. And after surviving another chance at the hands of Seekkuge Prasanna he went past Virender Sehwag’s highest individual score of 219 with a six off an Eranga no-ball. And while he took his chances he continued to take apart the attack in the fag end of the innings. He collected 20 runs of Kulasekara as he inched towards 250 and got there with a boundary over cover off Thisara in the following over. It was on the last ball of the innings that the opener’s glorious innings ended; caught at long-off by Jayawardene while looking for another big hit of Kulasekara.
On the third delivery of the Sri Lankan run-chase, Kusal Perera was sent back by Umesh Yadav. 31 runs later, the visitors lost their second wicket as Dinesh Chandimal ended up handing a catch to Raina at short cover of Stuart Binny.
With a mammoth task in front of them, Mahela Jayawardene joined Tillakratane Dilshan but was sent back for two by Yadav. In the next over Binny accounted for Dilshan and left SL gasping on 48/4.
Mathews then strived hard to put up a fight and was supported by Lahiru Thirimanne in the effort. The SL captain made 75 before he was stumped by Uthappa off Axar Patel after hitting the spinner over mid-wicket for six on the previous delivery. And after a 52-run stand for the sixth wicket, Thirimanne departed holing out to mid-wicket for 59. Two balls after claiming the middle-order batsman, Dhawal Kulkarni had Thisara nick the ball to the wicketkeeper.
In his next over the medium-pacer claimed two more to return with a four-for. Kulasekara was caught at deep mid-wicket by Rayudu while Prasanna perished pulling a short ball to deep square-leg. 18 runs later, Mendis looking to hit Patel to the fence was caught by Karn Sharma near the ropes bringing the contest to end.
Man of the Match: Rohit Sharma for his record-breaking double hundred
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