Though India managed to beat Sri Lanka by a record margin of 317 runs in the third ODI at Thiruvananthapuram to sweep the series 3-0, the inability of captain Rohit Sharma to convert solid starts into big centuries came to the fore yet again.
On a slow yet placid pitch at the Greenfield International Stadium, Kohli was off the blocks quickly, and anchored the innings for a large part to be unbeaten on 166 not out off 110 balls, his tenth hundred against Sri Lanka.
In his third century in last four ODI innings, Kohli hit 13 fours and eight sixes, feasting on a hapless bowling attack. He also shared 131-run partnership with Shubman Gill, who was stylish in his 116 off 97 balls, hitting 14 fours and two sixes, and propel India to a mammoth 390/5.
But Rohit, who shared a nice 95-run opening partnership with Gill, couldn’t progress beyond 42 off 49 balls despite playing shots which looked exquisite to the eye. It also meant that Rohit has not hit a century in last 50 international innings, last of which came when he hit 127 against England in the second innings of the fourth Test at the Oval.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir feels people need to be hard on Rohit not scoring centuries in the same space where Virat Kohli was, during his lean patch which happened a couple of months ago.
“I think we should talk to him in the same space like we used to when Virat didn’t get a 100 in last three and a half years. So we should be equally hard on Rohit Sharma because 50 innings in international cricket is quite a lot,” he was quoted as saying by Star Sports.
In the three ODIs against Sri Lanka, Rohit made scores of 83, 17 and 42. His last ODI century was when he slammed 119 against Australia at Bengaluru in January 2020. Gambhir added that Rohit has to get his century-making ability back, something which Kohli has rediscovered.
“It’s not you didn’t get a 100 in one or two series, and that is one thing that is missing in Rohit’s game from the last World Cup. He used to get those big 100s, this time he’s looking in good form, he’s hitting the ball well but he has to convert.”
“One thing that has stood out for Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, and Virat has got it back, Rohit Sharma need to get it back at least before the World Cup because these two guys will be extremely important if India has to go all the way and win the World Cup,” he added.
The next assignment for India in their home season is three ODIs against New Zealand, starting from Wednesday in Hyderabad.