Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul added 165 runs for the 1st wicket    AFP
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul added 165 runs for the 1st wicket AFP

Virat Kohli often states, “We want to be ruthless, play boring cricket,” India, under Rohit Sharma, are following the regular skipper’s mantra and have continued to dominate Sri Lanka in the ongoing T20Is. Put into bat on a belter of a track in the second T20I, Rohit and KL Rahul pulped Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the ground to amass 260 for 5. In addition, Rohit slammed the joint-fastest ton in the format, equalling David Miller. Rahul fell for 89. Had he registered a ton, it would have been the first-ever instance of two batsmen scoring centuries in a T20I.

Friday night blockbuster

“Sri Lanka started well,” said Russel Arnold on air. If you believe in what he says, check the scorecard after the first over. India were off to a flier. They first over went for 8. Rahul was dropped at backward point in the third over. He was in full mood to make the Lankans pay. Rohit didn’t get his timing right at the beginning, but still managed to clear the (short) boundaries.

The first 4 overs went for 26 runs. The next 4 leaked 61. That was where Sri Lanka lost the plot.

The innings took off in style post fourth over. Sri Lanka sprayed the balls outside off stump, and kept it fuller. It was a bizarre plan for a small ground. Rahul danced down the track and hoicked a few handsome shots down the ground. Rohit was determined not to lag behind. He blasted 4 consecutive boundaries: 2 fours and 2 sixes off Asela Gunaratne in the ninth over. (Gunaratne is considering quitting bowling in the format: Sources).

Rohit didn’t get bogged down before getting out. He took on his counterpart Thisara Perera to notch 4 successive sixes in the 11th over. Perera, bowling with a modified Malinga-like action, darted a few balls wide outside off. Rohit stood on the off stump line and sent every delivery outside. His first fifty came off 23 balls; the second took twelve.

Note: Rohit’s maiden T20I century had come against South Africa at Dharamsala in 2015. He was the second Indian to reach to three figures in the format (Suresh Raina being the first). He finally fell for 118 the highest individual score by an Indian. A whopping 91.5% of these runs (108) came in fours and sixes.

Holkar Stadium erupted despite Rohit’s exit, for MS Dhoni was promoted to No. 3. This is Dhoni’s fifth innings at No. 3. He departed for 28 with 2 fours and 2 sixes.

Rahul, on the other hand, perished for 89. He was looking set for another ton before Niroshan Dickwella timed his jump to perfection to send him back. The feature of his innings was straight shots down the ground, and mostly strokes out of the MCC coaching manual. The calculated shots kept the Lankan fielders on their toes.

In the process India scored their highest T20I score. They also registered the joint second-highest score in the format, equalling Sri Lanka (versus Kenya in 2007 World T20I).

India’s innings included 21 fours and 21 sixes, matching the record by matching Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

India also equalled West Indies in most T20I sixes 21.

Brief scores

India 260 for 5 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 118, KL Rahul 89, MS Dhoni 28; Thisara Perera 2 for 49) vs Sri Lanka.