Saturday, August 7, 2010


© Associated Press
A series-leveling win for India against Sri Lanka means that India retains the No. 1 spot on the ICC Test Team Rankings. But the point worth noting is that Sri Lanka have now moved up to No. 3 on the table, pushing Australia down to No. 4 - the first time that I have seen them there.

VVS Laxman played a serene knock - a chanceless unbeaten hundred guiding India to a successful 4th innings chase of a tricky target away from home!

I mentioned in my previous post that the main men for India in the chase today would be SRT and VVS, and that the first hour of the day would be the most crucial one. These two men stitched up a 109-run partnership that laid the foundation for a Raina flourish at the end... but more importantly Laxman and in particular, Tendulkar negotiated the first hour in a cautious manner to ensure that Raina does not have to face a ball that had retained some hardness in it and that Dhoni did not have to face a ball at all!

The win is a commendable one indeed, given the bowling attack that we went into the match with. For just the second time in 10 years was India playing a Test without the services of either Anil Kumble or Harbhajan Singh (not that I rate Bhajji very highly these days)! The four frontline bowlers had a combined experience of 41 Tests before the match started... but they somehow managed to eek out 20 wickets with some good help from Sehwag.

But at the end of it all, I am left wondering about one thing! The entire world knows the importance of a Virender Sehwag start for this Indian batting lineup. A Viru failure puts immense pressure on this lineup... and his duck yesterday was no different. But the class of SRT and VVS had it in them to bat through that pressure and win the match for India. Once these men call it a day, I wonder if the future class of Yuvraj, Raina, Pujara, Sharma and Kohli will have it in them to soak this kind of pressure!

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