India ended their last of the round-robin matches in a glorious manner through opener Rohit Sharma’s record-breaking feat of five centuries in a single World Cup to trounce Sri Lanka by seven wickets at the Headingley ground.
It was his third consecutive century in seven days and he erased former Sri Lanka legendary batsman Kumar Sangakkara’s record of four centuries in the 2015 World Cup while putting on a 189 runs partnership in 30.1 overs with KL Rahul after Sri Lanka were restricted to 264 for 7.
It was an amazing feat by Sharma, who is now being seen as the hitman of Indian cricket.
He has hit 140 runs against South Africa, an unbeaten 122 against Pakistan, 102 versus England and 104 against Bangladesh.
His 103 off 94 balls with 14 boundaries and two sixes against Sri Lanka erased all doubts of whether Sri Lanka would try and wreck India on a wicket that wasn’t easy to bat on.
Other than Sharma, in the history of international cricket, only one man has scored five centuries in a series and that being West Indian Clyde Walcott in 1955 when he hit five tons in a Test series against Australia.
Rahul, who had earlier spoken of his frustration at not being able to convert his scores of 40s and half centuries into centuries, recorded his first ton in the World Cup scoring 111 runs off 118 balls. His skipper Virat Kohli chipped in with an unbeaten 34 and ensured the victory in with 39 balls to spare.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s former captain and allrounder Angelo Mathews, who would have figured among the world’s best allrounders, but for his injuries in recent years that had lowered his bowling skills, demonstrated his batting flair and lifted his country from a precarious 55 for 4 to a challenging 264 for 7.
Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne, who cracked 53 runs off 68 balls, together put on 124 runs in 26.1 overs for the fifth wicket.
India’s strike bowler Jaspirt Bumrah had threatened to run through the Sri Lankan batting removing their skipper and opener Dimuth Karunaratne (10) and his partner Kusal Perera (18).
He returned with figures of 3 for 37 from his ten overs, which included the wicket of Mathews too. Ravinda Jadeja, who came in for Mohammad Shami, picked the wicket of Kusal Mendis, stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The former captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni, over whom questions are being raised as to when he would retire, had a hand in Bumrah’s first two wickets too as took the two catches.
Dhoni also caught next man Avishka Fernando (20) off Hardik Pandya to make it a total of four dismissals.
Bumrah became the fastest Indian to bag 100 wickets in One Day Internationals (ODI) in his 56th match beating Shami’s record in 57 matches.
Mathews had a life when he was dropped by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar at long on of Jadeja when his score was 61. Kumar had a bad day as a bowler too and was hit for 73 runs in ten overs.
By the 40th over, Sri Lanka reached the 200 runs mark and Mathews reached his century in the 44th over off 115 balls. It was his third ODI century, and interestingly all three have been against India.
Kuldeep Yadav ended Thirimanne's innings while attempting a big hit, only to be caught at backward point by Jadeja. Dhananjaya De Silva, who remained unbeaten with 29 runs, had also added 74 runs in 10.3 overs with Mathews for the sixth wicket.
Mathews' brilliant innings came to an end when Bumrah had him caught by Rohit Sharm in the covers. In the last ten overs, Sri Lanka could muster only 64 runs.
Many felt that India had let Sri Lanka off their grip after taking the first four wickets quickly. Then Sharma and Rahul removed all fears but putting on a fifty run partnership in 41 balls.
In the 17th over Sharma hit Dhananjaya da Silva for two sixes and reached his half century in 48 balls. By the 19th over, the pair put on a 100 runs partnership.
At the halfway mark, India went past 150 runs and needed only 113 more runs. Sharma’s innings ended when Kasun Rajitha forced him to hit into the hands of Mathews at mid-off.