As Rohit (unbeaten 208 off 153b) jabbed a back of a length delivery towards the mid-wicket region in the final over of the Indian innings and ran a quick double to complete his third double century, he let out a scream and leapt in the air. He then held his hands aloft, and on his face was a smile that was almost cathartic.
Rohit then kissed his ring finger and pointed towards his wife, who was in the stands. Wednesday was the couple’s second wedding anniversary and there couldn’t have been a better gift from Rohit.
It was completely in contrast with the emotions he showed in Dharamsala, where Rohit was twitchy, anxious and nervous. To be fair to him, it was his first match as Indian captain. Some 240 kilometres from the quaint hill town in Mohali, Rohit showed his Hitman self – an identity that has made him one of the most destructive limited-overs batsman in world cricket.
Sample this: if Rohit got his century off 112 balls, the next hundred came in just 35 deliveries. The last 10 overs of the Indian innings yielded 147 runs, and the last five 81. Sixes were just raining all around the IS Bindra PCA Stadium.
His last double century also came against the same opposition in 2014 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. It was the humongous 264 – the highest-ever ODI innings and a record that is going to be very tough to surpass. After his hundred, Rohit just went into overdrive. And, the 44th over by Suranga Lakmal – India’s wrecker-in-chief in Dharamsala – was the catalyst. Rohit smashed four sixes off Lakmal and galloped towards his double in triple quick time. Before that, Rohit was more interested in milking the Lankan bowling and getting a boundary or a six here and there.
Shreyas Iyer (88 off 70b) and Shikhar Dhawan (68 off 67b) were the ones who sent the Lankan bowling on a leather hunt, prior to Rohit’s demolition job in the end.
Iyer was impressive during his knock; and, besides his power-hitting, the Gundappa Vishwanath-like late cuts drew everyone’s attention. Dhawan took charge after the first 10 overs were bowled, and made sure the innings run-rate was never an issue.
In fact, after the first 10 overs, India had scored just 33, but the important fact was they hadn’t lost a wicket. The 11th over yielded back-to-back boundaries from Dhawan’s blade and the innings was up and running. The shackles were further broken with three hits to the fence in the 14th over – courtesy Dhawan.
After his fifty, Dhawan tried to increase the tempo; however, he chipped a ball straight to midwicket off Sachith Pathirana‘s bowling. Rohit and Dhawan added 115 for the first wicket. The dismissal brought Iyer to the crease and his first boundary was a delectable whippy flick towards mid-wicket.
Iyer and Sharma went mostly unchallenged during their 213-run second-wicket partnership as they paced the Indian innings delightfully for the final onslaught. And, it was a storm, an absolute bombardment of sixes in the death overs as India put a massive 392/4 in their 50 overs. Their Dharamsala tormentors Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep went for 8.87 and 10.60 runs per over, while skipper Perera gave 80 off his 8 overs.
The Lankans were never in the chase. The scoreboard pressure showed on them and most of the batsmen were dismissed trying outlandish shots. After the first 10 overs, the Lankans were 41/2 and the chase was truly done and dusted
Source : timesofindia