Rohit Sharma slammed his ODI 16th hundred    AFP
Rohit Sharma slammed his ODI 16th hundred AFP

It was his second wedding anniversary. It was his second match as Indian captain. Rohit Sharma made every moment memorable with his third ODI double-century. His wife Ritika Sajdeh was in the stands, in tears an emotion that must have overcome Sri Lankan fans today, albeit for a different reason. This is the second time Rohit has done this to Sri Lanka. Only the seventh time was the 200-mark breached in ODIs, and Rohit now has crossed the mark thrice. The others are Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle and Martin Guptill. Rohit Sharma’s 16th ODI hundred and quick fifties from Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer propelled India to 392 for 4 against Sri Lanka in the second ODI at Mohali.

Rohit lost his second toss on a row as India’s stand-in captain. Sri Lanka put India in, presumably hoping for a repeat of Dharamsala. Unfortunately, they ran into Rohit, who added 115 with Dhawan, 213 with Iyer, and exploded after that. He slammed 13 fours and 12 sixes en route 208 not out and in doing so he went past Sehwag’s tally of 15 ODI hundreds. In the Indian charts, he is now behind Tendulkar (49), Virat Kohli (32) and Sourav Ganguly (22).

List of all ODI double-hundreds
List of all ODI double-hundreds

India scored 115 in the last 7 overs with Rohit getting 92 off 27 balls. The madness began in the 44th over when he struck Lakmal for 4 sixes. The over went for 27. Nuwan Pradeep leaked 18 in the next. He ended up conceding 106 from 10 overs (joint third-most runs conceded in an ODI, and the most by a Sri Lankan).

It did not look so bad for Sri Lanka…

Angelo Mathews, not Lakmal, bowled the first over of the match. That probably had to do with the statistic that Mathews has dismissed Rohit 9 times in international cricket. Rohit happily played out a maiden. Dhawan, who got his first ODI duck since 2013 at Dharamsala, welcomed Lakmal in the next over with a cover drive to the fence. India were off to a cautious start. India were 33 for no loss after 10 overs. Dhawan cut loose from thereon.

The next 11 overs saw 82 runs being scored. Dhawan fell for a 67-ball 68 before to Sachith Pathirana. Rohit and Dhawan registered their 12th century opening partnership, drawing level with Tendulkar and Sehwag’s opening partnership tally. They now are only behind Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly (21).

Iyer had a forgettable debut at Dharamsala. He made amends today. It is not that you get to bat at No. 3 every time. Virat Kohli’s absence has opened the slot and Iyer slid into it with his wide range of strokes. The Mumbai boys made merry of the listless Sri Lankan bowling. Sri Lanka were quite a contrast to their show on Sunday. They erred in lengths and gave away too many loose balls.

Iyer looked set for his maiden century but perished after switching on the beast mode. Thisara Perara’s leg-cutter got the better of him in the 46th over, 12 short of what could have been his maiden hundred. The Rohit onslaught however continued as he went on to notch up a plethora of records. He became only the third Indian after MS Dhoni and Kohli to register an ODI hundred at Mohali. With his first six he also went past Tendulkar’s tally (71) of most sixes in India. Rohit now has 83!

Less than a six-hour drive from Mohali, at Dharamsala, India had been reduced to 29 for 7 by the same opposition on Sunday. In a remarkable turnaround, the hosts have posted 392, which happens to be their 100th 300-plus total in ODIs.

Brief scores

India 392 for 4 in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 208*, Shikhar Dhawan 68, Shreyas Iyer 88; Thisara Perera 3 for 80) vs Sri Lanka