Sharma’s third double ton takes India to 392-4 against Sri Lanka

Skipper Rohit Sharma on Wednesday became the first batsman to hit three double centuries in one-day internationals. (AP)
Updated 13 December 2017
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Sharma’s third double ton takes India to 392-4 against Sri Lanka

MOHALI, India: Skipper 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 led the Indian charge, smashing 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.


India and Pakistan ready to renew rivalry in Dubai showdown

Updated 18 September 2018
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India and Pakistan ready to renew rivalry in Dubai showdown

  • India brace for Pakistan after surviving stern test against minnows Hong Kong
  • Usman Shinwari: Any player who performs well in an India-Pakistan match will find his career reaches a new high

DUBAI: As delirium sweeps the UAE ahead of the mouth-watering encounter between arch rivals India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup, it seems one man — at least outwardly — is not as excited as the rest of the country and cricketing fans the world over.
India captain Rohit Sharma played with a straight bat when asked about the biggest clash in world cricket, set to take place today at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. On his first Asia Cup media outing the 31-year-old seemed unconcerned by the impending showdown with their fiercest opponents, his focus instead on facing Hong Kong, who Sharma and Co. had a big scare against on Tuesday.
“Right now, we are not focusing on Pakistan as (first) we are playing Hong Kong,” Sharma said on Sunday. “Obviously we have to focus on that particular team but once we have finished that game we will focus on Pakistan and what their strengths and weaknesses are.”
These are clearly the words of a man so media trained that by now he could easily be on the other side of the desk, asking the same questions he and his colleagues sometimes enjoy batting back with crafted clichés that speak of focusing on “one game at a time” or the like.
Sharma was clearly right to not take his eyes off the ball with Hong Kong — they are not here to merely make up the numbers, as their brilliant, battling performance on Tuesday illustrated. But at the same time, Sharma will be all too aware that as India skipper the one match you do not want to lead your side to defeat in is the one against Pakistan, regardless of competition and location.
Clearly India are not leaving Pakistan preparations to the 14 hours or so (sleep included) between the close of the Hong Kong clash and the toss prior to resuming Indo-Pak cricketing rivalry. To suggest they are would be naive at best.
A year on from Pakistan’s show-stealing Champions Trophy final victory over the old enemy in June last year, and a whole five years since the two sides met outside of an ICC or ACC event due to strained political relations, the appetite for the first of potentially three matches at this year’s Asia Cup is huge and one borne out of starved hunger.
Pakistan’s Usman Shinwari, fresh off defeating Hong Kong on Sunday, was more candid than Sharma.
“Any player who performs well in an India-Pakistan match will find his career reaches a new high, and every player dreams of doing well in this contest,” the fast bowler said. “I took three wickets (against Hong Kong), I hope that can be five wickets against India.”
Shinwari’s sentiments were echoed by his captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, who is absolutely clear on the levels of expectation that this fixture demands from fans on both sides of the border.
“The passion is always there,” said Sarfraz. “When you play against India everyone wants us to win as it’s against India.
“The fans say that whatever happens you have to win but as a captain I have to win against every team. It would be the same for India whose fans want them to win. It has happened in the past that any player who performs in the Indo-Pak match becomes a national hero.”
UAE cricket fans cannot wait for the clash. It took just a few hours for the first batch of tickets to be snapped up, the second bought in equally ravenous fashion. It has left a huge number of tickets now being touted across online marketplaces, social media platforms and, ultimately, will likely see the inflated resales being pawned outside the stadium on matchday too.
An expected 25,000 fans will swell the Ring of Fire, set to deal not only with cricket’s most fierce rivalry but also with all the unpredictability that will be thrown their way.
The famed traffic jams around Hessa Street, leading up to the stadium, and local entrances of Dubai Sports City will heave and efforts have been made to ease the burden of vehicles that will cart both sets of fans in and out of the area. Gates will open from 12p.m. local time, a whole three and a half hours before the first ball has been bowled. In an emirate where the last-minute rush is a daily fact of life, this will be not be an easy thing to execute but that, alongside the immense presence of volunteers and security, should prove welcome additions to the day’s running order.
This, though, is India vs Pakistan. Anything could happen.