India bounce back with Rohit's historic double ton
Captain Rohit Sharma led from the front with a historic third ODI double ton (208 not out) as India thrashed Sri Lanka by 141 runs to not only avenge the loss in the series opener but also level the three-match rubber 1-1, at the Punjab Cricket Association I.S. Bindra Stadium here on Wednesday.
Chasing a mammoth 393, Sri Lanka rode on former skipper Angelo Mathews' defiant unbeaten second ODI ton (111 from 132 balls, 4x9, 6x3) but kept losing wickets at regular intervals which derailed their chase.
Put in to bat on a wintry sunny morning, Rohit and fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan (68 off 67, 4x9) laid the foundation with a solid 115-run opening stand before the Mumbai batsman bludgeoned his way to an unbeaten 153-ball 208, comprising 13 fours and 12 sixes.
Rohit, who fired his sixth ODI century of the year, was later engaged in another massive 213-run stand for the second wicket with rookie Shreyas Iyer (88 off 70; 4x9, 2x6).
The 30-year-old Rohit had nudged his way to his century off 115 balls by the end of the 40th over and then went on to thump 107 more off his final 37 balls.
He got to the landmark in 151 balls when he stole two runs after nudging a full length delivery off his counterpart Thisara Perera in the final over of the innings.
Coming into the match, the Mumbaikar was the only batsman to have hit two double tons. Rohit's knock was the highest by an Indian captain against the islanders.
In reply, the islanders lost the opening duo of Upul Tharanga (7) and Danushka Gunathilaka (16) within the first powerplay even as Lahiru Thirimanne's (21) poor run with the willow continued to haunt them.
While Tharanga and Gunathilaka fell to Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah respectively, Thirimanne's attempt to reverse-sweep a flat delivery angling into middle, was enough for debutant off-spinner Washington Sundar to claim his maiden ODI scalp.
The three quick wickets brought in the experienced Mathews, who anchored the 53-run fourth wicket stand with stumper Niroshan Dickwella (22) before leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal got rid of the southpaw.
Reduced to 115/4, Asela Gunaratne (34) walked in to add 44 runs for the fifth wicket as Sri lanka crossed the 150-run mark with Mathews, nearing his half century.
But Chahal's loopy legbreak cut short Gunaratne's stay at the crease as stumper Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn't waste a second in removing the bails.
Chahal then struck immediately with the wicket of Perera (5) before pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar came back to remove Sachith Pathirana (2) to reduce the tourists to 180/7.
With wickets tumbling at the other end, Mathews switched gears to reach within striking distance of his second ODI century, which came off 122 balls, when he nudged a delivery from Bhuvneshwar through mid-wicket for two runs even as the visitors fell short by 141 runs in the end. - IANS