It was Rohit Sharma’s comeback to international cricket after sustaining an injury in England earlier that year, but facing Sri Lanka in a dead rubber on November 13, 2014, he went on to score a second ODI double century and set a world record.
India had already won three of the five-match ODI series, but Sharma’s 264 at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata ensured the fourth match went into the history books.
Rohit’s return to cricket
In MS Dhoni’s absence, Virat Kohli had already led the team to victory in the first three ODIs. Openers Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan were in good form, but the latter was rested for the fourth ODI. Sharma, who was 27 at the time, and had already proved himself as an opener with consistent performances since being asked to open in the 2013 Champions Trophy.
Kohli won the toss and elected to bat. Rahane got India off to a good start in the first powerplay, and while Sharma took his time to get used to the conditions, he had a lucky escape. Sharma was put down on four in the fifth over, after Thisara Perera fluffed an easy catch at third man.
In the eighth over, Rahane was dismissed for 28 off 24 balls. Sharma had started to find his touch, but a partnership with Ambati Rayudu ended early with the Hyderabad batsman being dismissed in the 13th over. Captain Kohli walked out to bat, and the stage was set.
A shift in gears
Sharma batted steadily, and scored 50 in 72 balls. He then shifted gears, and the boundaries started coming more regularly. He got to his century in 100 balls, his second 50 coming in just 28 balls.
Meanwhile, Kohli reached his half-century in 56 deliveries. Sharma was in full flow by then, taking just another 25 balls to get to 150.
But then came a mix-up that resulted in Kohli being run out on 66, and he stormed back to the dressing room.
Suresh Raina was in next. He struck a four and a six, and then was dismissed in the next over. There were now 58 balls left, but Robin Uthappa who walked in next, ensured Sharma faced most of the deliveries.
Sharma continued to play the big shots and in the 46th over, got to his second ODI double hundred off just 151 deliveries.
He even got the attention of Dhoni, who wasn’t playing. The then-ODI skipper tweeted, predicting that Sharma would get to 250.
If Rohit doesn’t get out he will certainly get 250 today
After reaching the 200-run mark, Sharma was dropped twice in the next two overs, adding to the Sri Lankan bowlers’ misery.
Sharma then took just 15 deliveries to get from 200 to 250, becoming the first batsman to get to the summit in ODIs.
The carnage ended on the last delivery of the inning, with Sharma dismissed for 264 runs off 173 deliveries. His innings included 33 fours and nine sixes. The numbers of fours remains the highest hit by a batsman in an ODI inning.
India’s total was a mammoth 404 for five wickets.
Facing a daunting total, the Angelo Matthews-led side succumbed to the pressure as they could score just 251 – 13 less than Sharma – and the team was dismissed with 41 balls to go.