Skipper Rohit Sharma equaled the record for the fastest Twenty20 century on Friday to set up India’s 88-run series-clinching win over Sri Lanka in the second match.
Sharma’s 43-ball 118 steered the hosts to 260-5 and then dismissed Sri Lanka for 172 in 17.2 overs, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series in Indore.
Wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav shared seven wickets each as India achieved their 16th series win — across all three formats — at home since November 2015.
But it was Sharma’s 100 off 35 deliveries, matching South African David Miller’s century against Bangladesh in October, that stood out. Sharma smashed 12 fours and 10 sixes after India were put into bat.
His explosive 165-run opening stand with Lokesh Rahul, who made 89, took the steam out of the Sri Lankan attack.
“Good conditions to bat. Was trying to do what I always try to do — hit through the line. KL (Rahul) started very well. He’s in great form,” said Sharma.
“There’s a certain template to my batting. Don’t try to overhit too much. Rely on my timing and hold my shape,” Sharma, who recently became the only ODI batsman to score three double centuries, added.
India’s 260-5 is their highest-ever T20 total, and just three short of the record score in the format — Australia’s 263-3 against Sri Lanka in Pallekele last year.
Sharma scored his second T20 hundred by mercilessly hitting the Sri Lankan bowlers all over the ground. He got his first 50 in 23 balls, and second in just 12.
He finally fell to fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera, mistiming a slow bouncer to short third man, and walked off to a standing ovation.
Rahul then took over and got his second successive half-century off 35 balls, and put on 78 runs for the second wicket with Mahendra Singh Dhoni (28).
The opener hit five fours and eight sixes in his 49-ball blitz before being caught behind off Nuwan Pradeep.
Sri Lanka responded with a 109-run second wicket partnership between Upul Tharanga, who made 47, and Kusal Perera, who top-scored with 77, but the ever-increasing run-rate proved too much for the chasing side.
Spin twins Chahal and Yadav once again spelt trouble for the visitors as they combined to flatten the opposition batting.
“Had a lot of faith in the wrist-spinners. They’ve always brought us back into the matches. These two guys never put their head down,” Sharma said.
“Rather than being too defensive, they’re prepared to flight the ball to take wickets. And they got the result.”
Both Yadav (3-52) and Chahal (4-52) picked three wickets each in the final over of their respective spells to make the islanders slip from 155-2 as wickets fell in a heap.
“It’s a tough series for us. Too big a target to chase. Tharanga and Kusal batted very well, giving us momentum, but others couldn’t execute,” said a disappointed Perera.
Angelo Mathews, who suffered a hamstring injury while bowling, did not come out to bat and has been ruled out for the final game in Mumbai on Sunday.