New Delhi: Rohit Sharma on Thursday returns to International cricket with a sublime double hundred against Sri Lanka at Kolkata's historic Eden Gardens. He also becomes the first player to hit 250 and two double hundreds in an One Day International match. He scored his first ODI double against Australia last November in Bangalore.
The right-handed batsman got himself out off the last ball of the innings, trying to clear the straight boundary. But veteran Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene took a calm catch off Nuwan Kulasekara. By then, he had already scored an awe-inspiring 264 runs to become the highest scorer in an ODI innings. He is the third player, all Indian, to hit double hundreds in the 50-overs format. Others were batting greats Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
Interestingly, all the four innings have come in India, all scored by Indian openers. Little Master was the first to achieve the feat, when he scored an unbeaten 200 (149 balls, 25 fours and seven sixes) against South Africa on 24 Feb 2010. Virender Sehwag became the second player to hit a double ton on December 8, 2011 against West Indies. He scored 219 with the help of 25 fours and seven sixes. Rohit Sharma's first double arrived on November 2, 2013 against Australia. He scored 209 off 158 with the help of 12 sixes and 16 sixes.
He was given a lifeline when on four, with Thisara Perera at third man. In fact, he was dropped three times in his stay at the centre today. After losing two quick wickets in Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayadu, Rohit and stand-in-skipper Virat Kohli revived the innings with a stroke-filled 202-run third wicket partnership.
In his 173-ball innings, he found the fence 33 times with nine sixes. For the fifth wicket partnership he and Robin Uthappa added 128 runs in just 58 balls to decimate the Sri Lankan attack. His innings helped India post a mammoth total of 404 runs in their stipulated 50 overs batting.
The 27-year-old talented batsman was making a comeback to the Indian One Day International squad after an injury lay-off. He last played for India on August 27 against England at Cardiff.
During the England tour, he sustained a fracture on the middle finger of his right hand, and was subsequently ruled out.
With India having already won the five-match series against Sri Lanka, the Indian team management opted to rotate and provide playing time to as many players as possible ahead of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Thus, brought in Rohit into the Indian fold.
India have won the first three matches in Cuttack, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. After today's Kolkata fixture, the final ODI will be played at Ranchi.