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Rohit mauls hapless Lankans

Rohit mauls hapless Lankans
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Stylish Rohit Sharma authored a dream return to big-time cricket by cracking a world record individual score of 264 as India toyed with a hapless Sri Lanka to register an emphatic 153-run win in the fourth ODI at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Sharma, who had to pull out midway into the England tour in August following a finger injury, scripted one of the biggest comeback celebrations the game has ever seen to propel the hosts to a mammoth 404/5 before 30,000-odd mesmerised fans at the majestic Eden Gardens that completed 150 years.

Needing to score at a daunting 8.1 runs per over to upstage India, the visitors never came anywhere close to accepting the challenge and were bundled out for only 251 in 43.1 overs, as the home side took a 4-0 lead in the five-match series.

In fact, the entire Sri Lankan team scored 13 less than Sharma, who is now the only batsman to score two ODI double hundreds - having plundered 206 against Australia last November in Bengaluru. He is also surpassed Virender Sehwag’s 219, the existing highest ODI score.

The Sri Lankan reply started off on a poor note, as they lost opener Kusal Perera (0) without any runs on the board in the very first over. The islanders suffered further jolts with Dinesh Chandimal (9), Mahela Jayawardene (2) and Tilakratne Dilshan (34; 33b, 6x4) departing by the tenth over. At 48/4, the tourists needed a miracle to make the game competitive.

Skipper Angelo Mathews (75; 68b, 9x4, 1x6) and Lahiru Thirmanne (59, 69b, 7x4, 1x6) put on 118 for the fifth wicket, but that was too little and too late, and only provided some respectability to the islanders’ innings. For India, Dhawal Kulkarni (4/34) ran through the middle order.

Earlier, opening with Ajinkya Rahane, Sharma propelled the Indians to Eden’s biggest total, as he scored the lion’s share of the 155-ball, 202-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli (66; 64 b, 6x4) for the third wicket. He added another 128 with Robin Uthappa (16) for the fifth wicket.

Already 3-0 down in the series, the Sri Lankans continued their poor show. While the bowlers were rendered chicken fodder for Sharma, the fielders also joined in the pathetic show giving three reprieves to the Mumbaikar. He was dropped at four by Thisara Perera, enjoyed another life by Seekkuge Prasanna after completing his double ton, and Lahiru Thirimanne let go another chance with the batsman on 222. 

Sharma reached his run-a-ball 100 pushing Eranga to the square leg and scampered down the pitch holding his arms high before going down on his knees to accept the thunderous applause from the crowd.An unstoppable Sharma needed only 73 balls to score the remaining 164 runs.

BRIEFSCORES India 404/5 (Rohit  Sharma 264, Virat Kohli 66) beat Sri Lanka 251 (Angelo Mathews 75, Lahiru Thirimanne 59, Dhawal Kulkarni 4-34) by 153 runs.
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