Rohit Sharma redefined one-day batting with a 173-ball 264 to better Virender Sehwag's highest individual score of 219 and show when it comes to effortlessly ripping into the opposition, he is best-suited for the job.
Coming off an injury, Rohit couldn't have found better facilitators than Sri Lanka as he took them apart with precision and the elegance befitting royalty. He is now the only player to score centuries in Tests, ODIs and T20 at Eden Gardens, celebrating its 150th year. Add to that the 200 he had scored in Kolkata five years ago in a Ranji Trophy match and it's a record VVS Laxman would be proud of and something for Eden to brag about too.
That all four ODI double hundreds so far have come off India bats in Indian venues tells something about the odds faced by bowlers on slow pitches and fast outfields. But Sri Lanka somehow managed to make even the Eden pitch look better. Staying true to their mediocrity throughout the series, Sri Lanka gave Rohit an inch when Thisara Perera dropped him, on four, at third man in the fifth over. He went on to extract a yard.
Rarely clocking above 125km/hr, Sri Lanka's bowling was perfect for Rohit to settle into a rhythm. With responsible knocks, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli too gave Rohit the confidence to build his innings slowly. The last time he scored a double century, he had run Virat Kohli out. Maybe, India could benefit again next time if the duo comes to an understanding on this.
Not an easy job
The final scoreboard won't reflect the difficulty Rohit might have had earlier but it had actually taken him 22 balls to get his first boundary. It was a pull off Angelo Mathews over midwicket and even though he didn't time it well enough, the outfield gave the ball extra legs.
What followed was a riot as Sri Lanka continued to innovate means to concede runs. Putting six fielders on the off-side and asking the bowler to come round the wicket, or bowling on-side with fine-leg up were just some of the ways Sri Lanka ensured India were never short of scoring opportunities.
But then not everything was gifted to Rohit. At times the ball stopped and stayed low so caution wasn't thrown out of the window until India had crossed the 300-run mark. By lasting 50 overs and running hard with Virat, Rohit showed keeping fit too was one of his priorities in the two months away from cricket.Then of course were some standout moments. The fashion in which he almost reached out to drive Nuwan Kulasekara in the 30th over showed how he has a way with timing and placement. Or the drive that fetched him a boundary and the status of being the only person to have two ODI double centuries to his name. More audacious was the way Rohit walked across the stumps to flick Kulasekara over midwicket for six. Over confidence? No. He has just that much more time.
Commentary, Sri Lanka Innings
Commentary, India Innings