Chennai, Sep 16: Australia bring out the best in Rohit Sharma. Sounds clichéd but it’s right on the money. When it comes to competing against the hard-nosed Australians, the Indian opener takes his game several notches higher. In just 23 matches against Australia, Sharma has hit five hundreds, including a double, the most he has hit against any country; and he averages an impressive 68.26 against them, again his best by some distance against the major competitors.
It puts Sharma in a very special club; after all, there aren’t many batsmen around who save their best for the Australians. In fact, it was against the Aussies that Sharma established himself as an opener four years back in 2013. MS Dhoni, the then Indian skipper, had promoted Sharma to the top of the order earlier that year, and Sharma had grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
But it wasn’t until the home series against Australia later that year that he really came into his own as an opener — in the run fest the series turned out to be, Sharma amassed 491 runs from six games, at a whopping average of 122.75 and strike rate of 108.63. An icing on the cake was his two hundreds in the series, an unbeaten 143 and a magnificent 209 — these two knocks sort of unlocked his latent destructive abilities, demonstrated by an incredible 264, the highest individual score in ODIs, about a year later against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens.
As the Australians are back for another ODI series, beginning here on Sunday, is the opener ready to hit the high notes again? And what exactly pushes him to give his best against them? “Nothing in particular, to be honest,” said Sharma. “Somehow I have really managed (to play) well against these guys. It’s great to have that sort of performances against one of the best teams and it makes me feel good.”
Source Tribune India