MOHALI (Monitoring Desk): Rohit Sharma on Wednesday became the first batsman to hit three double centuries in one-day internationals as he powered India to 392-4 in their second match against Sri Lanka.
The opener, captaining the team in absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, smashed 12 sixes and 13 fours in an unbeaten 208 after the hosts, who trail the three-match series 1-0, were put in to bat in Mohali.
Sharma reached 200 in the 50th over, bowled by opposition skipper Thisara Perera. His first hundred came off 115 balls and his second off just 36 balls.
The right-hander scored 209 against Australia in Bangalore in 2013 and followed that double-hundred with his highest score of 264 against Sri Lanka a year later in Kolkata.
Martin Guptill (New Zealand), Virender Sehwag (India), Chris Gayle (West Indies) and Sachin Tendulkar (India) have recorded a double century each in ODI cricket.
Sharma made a bright start with his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan (68) after the Indian batsmen´s horror showing in the opening ODI, when they were skittled out for just 112.
Sharma’s 213-run stand for the second wicket with Shreyas Iyer, who scored 88, also stood out on a hazy day in Mohali.
Dhawan, who hit nine boundaries during his 67-ball knock, was caught at mid-wicket off Sachith Pathirana.
But the wicket proved to be a minor blemish on India´s innings as Sharma dominated the bowlers with the attack-minded Iyer for company.
Sharma took a special liking to first-ODI hero Suranga Lakmal, hitting the paceman for four towering sixes in one over.
Iyer also changed gears after completing his maiden fifty in just his second ODI, smashing the Sri Lankan bowlers around the park.
Perera got three wickets with his medium-pace bowling but was still hit around the park by Sharma, who had vowed to bounce back after India were mauled in the first game.
Sharma’s unbeaten 208 steered the hosts to an imposing 392-4 and then restricted Sri Lanka to 251-8 to level the three-match series at 1-1 in Mohali.