Opener slams 142 in first competitive game after injury to propel India 'A' to 88-run win
On the eve of the warm-up match against Sri Lanka, Rohit Sharma admitted being nervous for his first competitive match after a nearly two-month injury lay-off. But the India ODI opener hardly showed any sign of nervousness as he took the field.
India 'A' opener Rohit Sharma in full flow against Sri Lanka at Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
Although the pitch was docile, Sri Lanka fielded all their 15 players, Rohit made full use of his opportunity to impress India's chief selector Sandeep Patil, who was keenly watching the proceedings from the Brabourne Stadium balcony yesterday.
Opening the innings, Rohit smashed 142 off 111 balls (18x4s and 1x6) while his teammate Manish Pandey's quickfire unbeaten 135 off 113 balls helped India 'A' post a mammoth 382 for six in 50 overs.
The Indian bowlers never allowed the Sri Lankan batsmen to settle down as they managed to score 294 for nine to lose by 88 runs. Leg-spinner Karn Sharma was successful in foxing the visitors with his flight and varying length as he claimed 4-47 in 10 overs. Dhawal Kulkarni and Parvez Rasool picked two wickets each.
Karn, who claimed the wickets of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, skipper Angelo Mathews and Mahela Jayawardene, was thrilled by his performance. "I was especially thrilled to get the wicket of Mahela because he is such a good batsman," said Karn.
Rohit's intention of quickly getting into the groove was clear from the start as he raced to 28 off 23 balls which included four fours. Though his finger was strapped, Rohit showed no signs off discomfort during the 175-minute stay.
Sri Lanka had a chance to stop the firing Indian opener once Unmukt Chand was out, caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara for 54 off 43 balls. But they were not successful as Rohit joined hands with Pandey to decimate the hosts.
Rohit smashed medium pacer Nuwan Kulasekara for four fours in the 34th over. The shot through backward point brought up his century in just 91 balls. Completing his century gave him more reason to free his arms with 42 coming in just 20 balls.
He looked poised for a big score, but threw away his wicket after going for a risky second run, thus ending the 214-run stand for the second wicket.
'Results doesn't matter'
Pandey carried on with his dazzling strokeplay from the other end to ensure India 'A' finish close to the 400-run mark.
India 'A' coach Sanjay Bangar insisted that one must not read too much into the result of the game. "Results do not matter too much to a touring side. They try all their options and combinations in such matches. Sri Lanka is a formidable side," said Bangar.
India 'A' 382-6 in 50 overs (R Sharma 142, M Pandey 135*; D Prasad 3-57) beat Sri Lanka 294-9 (U Tharanga 76, K Sangakkara 34; K Sharma 4-47) by 88 runs