Rohit Sharma celebrates after completing the double hundred. (BCCI)
New rules or old rules, two news balls or one, four fielders on the boundary or five, batting tracks or bowling tracks, batting at home or away. Nothing can take anything away from the innings Rohit Sharma played to light up Bangalore on Diwali eve: 209 runs, second highest ODI score, world record of 16 sixes and a hunger that only looks to be growing.
It's a rebirth for Rohit Sharma, whose floundering career saw light not at the end of the tunnel but on top of it - as an opener.
Since being asked to open in the ODIs earlier this year, Rohit has been involved in six century partnerships with Shikhar Dhawan. But this Saturday was different; correction, it was mammoth.
It never looked the carnage at the end will achieve such monumental proportions. It never looked Rohit will go past 200. It never looked he will end up hitting 16 sixes. It never looked India will put 383 on the board. But it all happened, in that order.
After 20 overs India were 113 for no loss, and Dhawan, not Rohit, was the dominating partner. It was the Delhi assassin taking charge, not the Mumbai hitman - as they once again gave India a solid foundation. But once Dhawan departed, Kohli got unfortunately run out for a duck, experiment of Suresh Raina at No. 4 failed again and Yuvraj Singh fell to a stunning catch by Haddin, it was Rohit who had to stay in. And he not only stayed in but also put Australia out of it.
Rohit may not agree, but fair to say that India got their highest total of the series without their best batsman contributing a run. Kohli fell for a zero, and honestly it didn't look India will cross 325 until Rohit shifted gears.
Nothing but this can better describe how he accelerated: his first 50 came off 71 balls, the next 50 off 43 and the last 109 runs off just 44. When Rohit smacked his 11th six, he broke MS Dhoni's record of most sixes in an ODI by an Indian. Then came six No. 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16, which broke the world record held by Shane Watson.
Rohit got a life too, when Moises Henriques dropped him on 120. Fair to say, with that dropped catch, Henriques dropped the series too.
One thing that not many have pointed out is Rohit's fitness. To satisfy your hunger for big runs, you need a fit body too, that can endure hours of toil on the crease. The way he ran his twos and threes even in the 45th over spoke oodles about his fitness and that he is now finally serious to justify the talent that was never in doubt.
"It is a wonderful feeling," he said about his marathon knock that made him just the third batsman after Virender Sehwag (219) and Sachin Tendulkar (200) to get an ODI double hundred. "When I went out to bat, I never knew I would get 200. But scoring runs on this ground is easy. I only wanted to carry on from where I left in the last game," he added.
"As you play, records will come. I only want my team to win. That is more important. It's coming off really well for me since the Champions Trophy and I just want to keep the momentum going," Rohit said.
That momentum will now move to Tendulkar's farewell series, with Rohit's consistency earning him a place in the Test squad against West Indies. And with Tendulkar vacating the No. 4 position in India's Test line-up, Rohit seems the best man to take over.