Sri Lanka v India, 4th ODI, Colombo July 31, 2012

Rohit's agony and India's strange stat

Plays of the day from the fourth ODI between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo

Rohit's moment of agony
Rohit Sharma was under pressure with scores of 5, 0 and 0 in the series, and he batted like a man under pressure. He took ten deliveries to get off the mark and fell leg-before off his 14th. The moment he was struck on the pad, he waited, dreading that the umpire's finger would go up, hoping that it wouldn't. When it did, Rohit stood still at the crease, contemplating another failure, before he started to trudge off in disappointment, only to be stopped by the square-leg umpire, who asked him to wait till they checked whether it was a no-ball. Rohit stopped, hoping again, only to be dealt a second, final blow when he was informed it was a legal delivery.

The stat
Legspinner dropped to replace long-benched batsman who could have replaced repeatedly struggling batsman. How would India deal with playing only four bowlers after choosing to play both Rohit and Manoj Tiwary? By over-bowling their part-timers, and over-bowling them successfully. At one stage, R Ashwin, the specialist offspinner, Tiwary, the part-time legspinner, and Sehwag, the part-time offspinner, had remarkably similar figures: 7-0-31-0, 7-1-31-1, and 7-1-31-2.

The catch
Sachithra Senanayake, the offspinner, hasn't played a game this series, but he probably dropped the third ODI when, as a substitute, he put down Man-of-the-Match Suresh Raina at extra cover at a tight moment during India's chase. Today, Virender Sehwag, who came out crashing boundaries, got a leading edge towards short cover, where Senanayake was fielding. This one was much a tougher chance, but Senanayake dived, completed it and turned around to face the dressing room with arms aloft.

The fortunate five
Suresh Raina could have been dismissed several times early in his innings. During one such instance, he was almost at Virat Kohli's end but escaped being run out. He was dropped on 19 by Senanayake in the third game, today he was put down on the same score by Mahela Jayawardene. In the next over, the 34th, he pushed one to the off side and set off for a risky single. Had the throw hit, Raina would have been out by some distance. As it turned out, not only did he survive, he also got four extra runs as the throw missed the stumps and sped to the deep midwicket boundary.

The stroke
Towards the end of the game, Kohli toyed with the Sri Lanka bowling, cracking eight boundaries off his final 16 legal deliveries. One of those shots showed what kind of form he is in at the moment: Lasith Malinga slung in a very full delivery, right onto the stumps. It was not quite a yorker, but Kohli's response was as though he had spotted a harmless full toss. He opened up slightly, got his feet out of the way to make room for the bat swing, and timed the ball to the square-leg boundary.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vinod on August 2, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    i want to meet all those people and ask them personally what they mean when they say they see a lot of talent in rohit sharma. it appears that one commentator said that when he was feeling particularly generous and everyone just copied him. his performance at the international level is ample proof of his "talent". sack him and give as many chances to someone like rahane and tiwary and see the difference. enough of this tomfoolery.

  • Subhasish on August 2, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    Since we treat cricket as a 'business', and we all agree that this is a highly competitive world, where success comes to the ablest, fittest and the most hunger, does it make sense to keep on giving chances to someone, who in spite of his obvious talents (which none else can see!) has not yet delivered? Why do we Indians, put so much stress on TALENT? Why don't we focus on DELIVERY? In management, results are what matter - not your potential. A workhorse, who delivers consistently, should be preferred over a flashy, flamboyant once-in-a-blue-moon category of performer.

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    ok guys dhoni and top indian players think he is the future , lets give respect to the senior players . I got upset all the time when rohit got out on 5,0,0,4.but then also senior players are supporting him.If they belive he is the future we have to listen to them because they know cricket more than us they play onthe field under pressure.lets wait for senior players and dhoni to decide.rohit has the potential but not delivering .If he starts then he,virat and raina will be middle orderin world cricket.thats what India needs to achieve high.Rohit is under pressure ,a good performance is going to come from his side.wish Indian team to get no.1 in ranking

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    Rohit indeed has Amazing Talent. He looks Awesome when he plays and makes batting look extremely easy. His performance in IPL has been excellent and he has won many matches on his own.

    Why he doesn't perform same for India? What is he missing ODIs - money, pressure or will? Does he really have the same commitment to play for India? Is it possible that he doesn't care enough to play for India and is perfectly content earning $2M by playing 3 months of IPL and CL?

    I am not saying this is the case. Only Rohit can truly answer this. However, if he wants to focus on IPL and CL alone, perhaps, captain, selectors and other shouldn't force him in playing ODIs and tests.

  • Samrat on August 2, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    Such a thing happens only in India.Had Rohit been an Aussie he would have been dropped immediately and would have been sent to the domestic circuit to hone his skills.Bet every cricketer wants to be in Rohit's shoes,so that he can use all ODI;s as warm up matches,till the match comes when he makes a 50 and prove people that he is good enough.What a farce.I cant quite understand what Dhoni is trying to prove,earlier we had,"cant bat,cant bowl" Ravindra Jadeja being touted as the best all rounder around.Dhoni ignored Irfan at his own peril.Wake up Dhoni,Drop Rohit and give other promising cricketers a chance.

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2012, 23:26 GMT

    I really cant understand why everyone going gaga over Mr Rohit Sharma's talent...i mean where have they seen his talent???? In Indian Domestic Circuit??? That's a no place to judge anyone's talent....think think about what Legendary Rahul Dravid said about the talent and you will find nothing in Rohit....better drop him n forget him..he is good for nothing

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    Gone was the time he played for deccan chargers, delievering wat t tem needed in a rock solid he is just a burden on the team..

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    Maybe Rohit's bad form is a blessing in disguise. We might see Yuvraj soon. ;)

  • SUNIL on August 1, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    in comes RO-HIT... crowd shout..GO-HIT.. oops..there comes NO-HIT

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    Whether the "emperor" has no clothes or he is wearing the fanciest regal paraphernalia depends on how Dhoni feels about the guy. Relieved to see that Dhoni changed his tinted glares to look at Irfan, at least in this series. Now, it is up to Irfan NOT to let Dhoni change the glasses, back to the tinted one (specially tinted NOT to see Irfan'a potential (and performance).

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