Rohit Sharma Double Hundred Powers India To Vital Victory

Indian opener Rohit Sharma hit yet another ODI double hundred to set up a huge win for India in the Second ODI at Chandigarh. Rohit now has three such double hundreds, while Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle and Martin Guptill each have one. It could not have come at a better time for India. After collapsing to 29-7 in the First ODI, there was lots of pressure on the Indian batsmen to deliver and save the series. All the criticism was heightened by the fact that Virat Kohli is currently absent from the squad due to personal reasons. A comprehensive batting display here quashed all claims that India are a one-man team.

Rohit Punishes Tame Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka started well with the new ball. Angelo Matthews opened the bowling to Rohit and engineered large amounts of swing on a grassy wicket. Prior to this match, Matthews had dismissed Rohit nine times in international matches at an average of just over 15. It took the opener nine balls to get off the mark and he gave a half-chance early on through a leading-edge. Suranga Lakmal was equally probing at the other end, beating the bat on several occasions. Shikhar Dhawan helped Rohit out in the early stages by playing his naturally aggressive game, relieving some of the pressure. The first ten overs were the most testing of the whole innings, shown by India’s slow score of 33/0.
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Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, they were not able to maintain their discipline in the middle overs. Dhawan hit Pradeep for three boundaries in one over and brought up a 47-ball fifty soon after. Rohit then started to play his shots, reaching 46 (60) before Dhawan chipped Pathirana to mid-wicket. Virat Kohli’s replacement, Shreyas Iyer, carried on from where Dhawan left off. This pair then put on 213 runs in just over 24 overs. Iyer played a great innings, hitting two sixes and nine fours in his 70-ball 88. However, this ended up being just a small supporting innings to Rohit Sharma’s magnificent knock. Rohit took 115 balls to reach his first hundred, but his second came in just 36. He was aided by some lacklustre bowling in the middle overs. The Sri Lankan bowlers failed to find much consistency and frequently erred in length. Nuwan Pradeep had a particularly bad day, ending up with the atrocious figures of 10-0-106-0.

Rohit carried his bat and ended up unbeaten on 208 and India finished on 392-4. This came off 153 balls and included 13 fours and 12 sixes. After the game Aakash Chopra boldly claimed that Rohit could become an ODI triple centurion. It would be a remarkable feat if he could pull it off, but if anyone in the world could it would be Rohit.

Matthews Hundred Only Consolation For Sri Lanka

After a tight few overs from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya it seemed that Sri Lanka would struggle to chase down India’s total. Indeed, Sri Lanka’s top three really struggled to get going, striking at 84, 50 and 60 respectively. This really was not the right intent needed to hunt down a total as large as India’s. Niroshan Dickewella and Asela Gunaratne played handy cameos, but Angelo Matthews carried the Sri Lanka team to a respectable total. Matthews hit his second ODI century, ending on 111* off 132 balls. Ultimately it was in vain, but it was great to see him showing the rest of the side how to construct an innings. However, it seemed to have come at a great cost. At the end of his innings he was seen to be limping heavily and he struggled to run. His fitness will be a major concern for the Sri Lankans heading into the decisive final ODI.
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Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the Indian bowlers, as he took 3-60 in his ten overs. The other frontline spinner India played was the 18 year-old Washington Sundar who was making his debut. He bowled Lahiru Thirimanne early on in his spell, but failed to make any more breakthroughs. One criticism of him, though, was that he did not seem to be getting much turn or putting many revolutions on the ball. India’s seamers were clinical as usual: Bhuvneshwar Kumar went at just 4.44, with Pandya’s economy at 3.9 and Bumrah’s at 4.30. This was phenomenal in the context of the target Sri Lanka were looking to chase down.

The Decider

The series is neatly balanced at 1-1 heading into the third and final ODI on Sunday. India responded excellently to bounce back from a heavy defeat in the First ODI and they will be looking to use this momentum to secure a vital series win. After the ODI series is completed, the sides will play three T20s.

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