Sharma ton seals India win over Sri Lanka
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe: A chilly day in Africa but not for Indian cricketers as batsman Rohit Sharma hit his second century in successive matches to secure a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a tri-nation series.
Sharma''s first century was against Zimbabwe on Friday in a match which the home side won by six wickets. But his winning "double" hundred here Sunday ensured victory against old foes Sri Lanka.
Sent in to bat by India captain Suresh Raina, Sri Lanka struggled against the inexperienced Indians to reach 242 all out in 49.5 overs. This target was all too easy for India and they passed it with 39 balls to spare.
Now the rejuvenated Indians are back on track in the series and instead of being under pressure to survive they have the look of victors about them.
Man-of-the-match Sharma''s 100 came up in exactly 100 balls. It was a race both against the light, which was generally indifferent, and also against the disappearing number of runs required for the win.
When his century was secured, India needed only a handful of runs to cross the line and his captain Raina held back for him.
Sharma hit six fours and two sixes in a faultless innings, which was not especially spectatular but of total command.
He didn''t take all the limelight though. Virat Kohli weighed in with 82 before being caught on the boundary and they put on 154 for the third wicket.
Kohli needed 92 balls as he hit four fours in his seventh half century.
From a team standpoint India recovered well from their shock beating by Zimbabwe and are now back on track for a possible series winning effort.
The pressure now reverts to Sri Lanka who must beat Zimbabwe on Tuesday to put all three on level terms at the half-way stage.
Before a crowd of only about 30 at the start of play, which followed a pre-dawn thunderstorm, perhaps 800 paying spectators braved the cold wind as Sri Lanka were put into bat.
India were forced to start without Vinay Kumar who sprained an ankle playing soccer. He was replaced by Pragyan Ojha.