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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Test Cricket: India Finally Manage To Break The Jinx In Sri Lanka!

India under the young Test skipper Virat Kohli finally managed to break the 22-year no-win jinx in Test Series hosted by Sri Lanka defeating the hosts by 117 runs in the third Test today thus winning the Series 2-1 after wasting a huge opportunity in the first of the three Tests mostly dominated by them. In the first Test at Galle a win for India seemed only a formality when a dismal bout of batting ensured a win for Sri Lanka. In the third Test in Colombo India put Sri Lanka on the mat setting a huge target of 386 runs and capturing three vital wickets for 67 runs at stumps on the fourth day yesterday. They needed to capture 7 wickets today for a series win in Sri Lanka after 22 years, but their bowlers again showed the haunting lack of penetration for most part of today with the scare of Sri Lanka either drawing or even winning the match and the Series looming large. However, at the last moments of the fifth day Ashwin came back to capture 4 wickets ensuring a win for India. In the second Test India won hands down by 278 runs giving the first ever Test victory to Kohli as a captain. Ironically, it was after the second Test that the legendary Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara decided to retire from test cricket and in the third Test without this mainstay of batting, wicket keeping and all-round leadership India could not capitalize to a desired extent upon the hosts.

The third and the final Test match between India and Sri Lanka in Colombo has proved to be the best one with the series level at 1-1 prior to it, both teams staging fight-backs from tight situations, tails of both teams wagging and the match stretched to full five days. Sri Lanka gave India an advantage too by opting to field first after winning the toss—maybe because playing without the assured presence of Sanga after some years. However, India struggled to make 312 and in reply Sri Lanka struggled more, but finally able to reduce the lead to just 111. India struggled again and finally managed to reach 274 setting a seemingly invincible target of 386 runs. And finally on the last day today Sri Lanka could not prevent India from creating history by breaking the jinx. Virat Kohli has an away Series win under his belt now. R Ashwin who took a total of 22 scalps was rightfully named the Man of the Series. Unfortunately, Ishant Sharma got a 1-Test ban for his undue aggressiveness on the field and so will miss the first Test against South Africa. Well, if Australians are aggressive it is only natural, when Indians do, rarely though,  it is an offence! 


For India Dhawan, Kohli, Rahane, Rahul, Pujara and Sharma scored quite a few runs each. However, the consistency was lacking with almost all making  big individual scores in one outing followed by flops in the next. Of course, India had the disadvantage of playing without the service of their regular openers—Dhawan and Murali Vijay. Dhawan could not play after a century in the first Test. Vijay played only the second Test. Ravichandran Ashwin’s ten-wicket haul in the first Test went in vain, but Ishant Sharma’s improved line and aggressiveness gave India something to hoot for in the near future. For Sri Lanka too the batting lacked consistency except for the glorious 162 by Chandimal in the first Test and some good scores by Mathews. On the bowling front Herath’s performance in the first Test was memorable with some aggressive bursts from pacers Prasad and Pradeep. Next India go into the home series named Gandhi-Mandela Series against South Africa starting end of this month. There will be three T20s, five ODIs and four Test matches with the first T20 starting on 2nd October and the first Test starting 5th November in Mumbai. 
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