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Wanted to do well as a batsman and captain: Rohit Sharma after double ton

Pacing his innings, Indian cricket team’s stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma exploded in the later stages of the game to blow away Sri Lanka cricket team’s chances of winning the series in Mohali

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 13, 2017 22:36 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times, Mohali
India vs Sri Lanka,IND vs SL,Rohit Sharma
Indian cricket team’s stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma celebrates his double-century during the second ODI against Sri Lanka cricket team in Mohali on Wednesday. (PTI)

Few doubt his credentials as a big-match player, and with the chips down after the humiliating seven-wicket loss in Dharamsala, Rohit Sharma justified his billing with a double ton to lead India to a massive total in the second ODI on Wednesday. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA 2nd ODI HIGHLIGHTS)

Pacing his innings well, Rohit exploded in the later stages of the game and the momentum was enough to blow away Sri Lanka’s chances of winning the series. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA 2nd ODI SCORECARD)

Rohit said it would be hard to rate his third double century. “I cannot rate it because the other one was as important as this one.

The first one against Australia was the series decider. We were 2-2 and wanted to win that series. The second one against Sri Lanka, I was making a comeback three months after injury. It was a world record, so obviously that has to be right up there. This one, having lost the first game, we wanted to come back as a batting group. This is my first captaincy stint and I as a batsman and then as a captain wanted to do well,” said Rohit.

The knock of 208 off 153 balls, studded with 13 fours and 12 sixes, was flawless and effortless, requiring none of the brute force evident in T20s.

Rohit looked in control even as Shikhar Dhawan went after the Sri Lanka bowlers. Dhawan raced to 68 (67 balls) in the 115-run first-wicket partnership, but Rohit was content with 46. Then, as Shreyas Iyer showed his aggressive intent, Rohit held back, waiting for the right moment. The second wicket 213-run partnership broke Sri Lanka’s back. Rohit was fluent but not belligerent as he raised his 16th century off 115 balls.

What unfolded thereafter was a treat to watch as Sri Lanka couldn’t stop him from gathering runs around the wicket.

“That is style of my play. The first 100 took a little longer. But for the second you are set and seeing the ball nice and hard and you have understood what the bowlers are trying to do by then. It’s all about trying to play with the field once you get past 100, it’s all about you not making a mistake and getting out,” he said.

Sri Lanka earlier too had borne the brunt of Rohit’s bat. His highest 264 was against them at Eden Gardens in 2014. Rohit was in full flow against Australia when he hit 209 at Bangalore in 2013.

On Wednesday, Suranga Lakmal, the toast of Sri Lanka’s win in Dharamsala, went for four sixes in the 44th over as Rohit raced from 116 off 126 balls to 140 off 131 balls. The impression may have been that he was hitting sixes at will but the skipper said it wasn’t easy.

“Nothing is easy in cricket. Trust me, when you are out in the middle, you have to use your brain and you have to time the ball. Otherwise, it is not easy,” he said.

First Published: Dec 13, 2017 22:36 IST