Rohit spells double trouble for SL

Opener slams his second ODI double hundred, 264, as India trounce visitors by 153 runs

Rohit spells double trouble for SL

Thousands of mobile phone cameras sprang into life at the Eden Gardens on a muggy Thursday evening to capture the grainy images of an ebullient moment.

It was spectators’ eagerness to film the perfect culmination of Rohit Sharma’s classy batsmanship – a world record double hundred touched with rare brilliance.

His knock led India to an imposing 404 for five. Sri Lanka never stood a chance and were bundled out for 251 as India celebrated a 153-run win to go 4-0 up in the series.

Actually, the numbers (264, 173, 33x4, 9x6) don’t really do justice to Rohit’s batting as they relay the picture of savage hitting. But his innings was anything but that.

His knock was all about precise and silken timing and extraordinary ability to find the gaps.

However, there was an ugly moment early on his innings.

Rohit’s swipe off Shaminda Eranga generated a comfortable skier but Thissara Perera shelled it at third man.

The nerves were understandable too because this was Rohit’s first international match since playing the second one-dayer against England at Cardiff in August.

He was forced to take a lengthy break due to injuries to his finger and shoulder, and he announced his return to top-flight cricket in the best possible way.

However, the initial phase didn’t give any indication to the brewing storm.

Rohit was content to play second fiddle to Ajinkya Rahane, the dominant partner in the 40-run opening wicket alliance.

The Mumbai man took 72 balls to reach his first fifty, and it, perhaps, liberated his mind. Rohit was a transformed batsman after that point.

 His second fifty came in 28 balls, raced from 100 to 150 in 25 balls, cruised from 150 to 200 in 22 balls and the next fifty runs cascaded in just 15 balls.

Phew! It was a mindboggling exhibition of clean hitting.

Rohit began the carnage hammering Nuwan Kulasekara for two fours and a six in the 30th over, the start of the batting Power Play as well.

The sequence helped Rohit canter into the 90s, and he soon brought up his 100 with a single off Eranga.

But that was just an appetizer as Rohit soon began to toy with the Lankan bowlers.

Rohit had played several exquisite shots on the day, but one shot encapsulated the ludicrous ease of his batting.

In the 48th over, he walked across the stumps and whip-lifted Kulasekara over wide long-on for a six.

Even the Lankans couldn’t refrain themselves from appreciating that audacious innovativeness.

On their part, the Lankans too offered him rank long hopps, thigh-high full tosses and deliveries wide outside the off-stump, all were cashed in on efficiently and elegantly.

The most productive phase of Indian innings came when Rohit joined Virat Kohli for the third wicket alliance that produced 202 runs in 155 balls, also squeezing the remaining fighting spirit from the minds of the Islanders.

Kohli’s eagerness for a second run cost the Delhiite his wicket, but Rohit continued to pummel the Lankans in the company of Robin Uthappa.

They milked 158 runs in just 58 balls for the fifth wicket, and in that Uthappa’s contribution was a handsome run-a-ball 16!

During that partnership Rohit also set the record for the highest individual score in ODIs, and the Lankans were determined to assist him.

Seekkuge Prasanna dropped an easy chance at mid-wicket fence off Kulasekara. Rohit was on 201 then.

By the time, he found Mahela Jayawardene in the deep off Kulasekara, Rohit had broken an array of records and put India firmly in the path to victory.

Clumsiness in their bowling and fielding conveyed Sri Lankans lack of preparedness for this series.

Rohit’s blitz would have filled their hearts with despair, as their batsmen looked even incapable of offering a token fight after that fearsome battering.

Umesh Yadav and Stuart Binny combined to winkle out the Lankan top-order, reducing them to 48 for four inside the first 10 overs.

But the competitive element was drained from the match long before that.

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