Friday, 14 November 2014 02:50
Rohit Sharma’s first ODI in 10-weeks began with a touch of nerves. He was even kept scoreless in one Angelo Mathews maiden. By the end of the innings, his batting had become cartoonish. There was no shot he had not played. No part of the ground he had not exploited. No bowler who escaped his brutality. Rohit amassed 45 more runs than any ODI batsman had ever managed in an innings, finishing on 264 from 173 balls when he was finally caught off the last ball of the innings. India, almost incidentally, had moved to 404 for 5, despite having travelled at a run rate of less than six for the first 32 overs.
Rohit’s innings was so ludicrous that the first 100 runs, which were hit at a run-a-ball, seems achingly humdrum in comparison to the 164 that followed. The surge had actually begun before he reached his century, when he plundered 14 runs in four balls, in Nuwan Kulasekara’s 30th over. Soon after that, the ball would be leaping off the middle of his bat with almost every stroke he offered.
There were many incredible shots, from among his 33 fours and nine sixes, but the most gobsmacking was the six off Kulasekara at the end of the 48th over, when he walked across to off stump, took a half volley from about a foot and half away from him and flicked it high over the midwicket boundary. It was the kind of shot, and innings, that seemed in open defiance of physics.
Sri Lanka had played a tour match against Mumbai to warm-up for the series, but little did they know Rohit was warming-up against them. He hit 145 from 111 in that match - his first competitive game since fracturing a finger in August - and he has now re-embedded himself at the top of the India batting order in the most resounding fashion imaginable.