Rohit Sharma said that having his wife around on the day he scored a record third ODI double hundred was special. Rohit, who is standing in as Indian skipper in the absence of Virat Kohli for this series, scored 208 off 153 balls to help India to a total 392/4. Sri Lanka never looked in contention to get anywhere close to that target. “I’m happy [my wife] is here with me on this special day,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony, “I know she would have liked this gift from me. She’s been my strength, she’s always been there for me. You go through so much stress in this sport, and having them around is always special. This is our second anniversary, but more than that, we won the game.”
India were batting first and Rohit opened the innings with Shikhar Dhawan and was initially playing second fiddle as the latter took the attack to the opposition. He then chose to be the balancing act for a good portion of the innings as Shreyas Iyer slammed 88 off 70 balls. It was in the final 10 overs that Rohit started hitting the ball all over the park and made a mess out of the Sri Lankan bowling figures.
“It was a great day,” said Rohit, “Winning the game was important for me and the team after that loss in Dharamsala. I can keep talking about the batting that we did today, right from the start, with Shikhar giving us a brilliant start, and Shreyas Iyer – it didn’t look like he was only playing his second ODI. There was dew later, so it was important to get that big total. If I’m not wrong, the first 100 I got were around the 38th, 39th over, so I was telling myself, if I get that far, I’m not going to get out. I was only looking to keep my shape and hit through the line. It was the same thing I did in my first two 200s. I started off pretty slow then too.”
Rohit is in a unique position. He is the only batsman in the world who can be asked, which one is his favourite ODI double hundred. “Very difficult to pick one,” he said, “All three came at crucial times. 264 is obviously very close to me. I’ve said it many times, but I honestly cannot pick one. The Australia one was a decider, the Sri Lanka 264 – I came back after a three-month layoff after a big injury, and this one also – after a humiliating loss, we wanted to come back as a team, as a batting unit especially.”
He said that the team is now looking for what will be the deciding third ODI that will be played in Vishakhapatnam. “As a group we’re looking forward to [Vizag]. The conditions will be different, and again we have to adapt and play to our strengths.” He also said that young off spinner Washington Sundar has showed a lot of promise despite the fact that he was the least economic of the Indian bowlers. “Not the ideal conditions for [Washington] to bowl, but this is how he will learn. He showed promise, and he has shown it before too, in the IPL,” he said, “We want to back young players like Washington, we don’t want to put too much pressure on them. I’m sure he must have learned a lot from this game, bowling with the wet ball and so on, and I wish him all the luck.”