India vs Sri Lanka | Talking points from Day 1 of the second Test

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India vs Sri Lanka | Talking points from Day 1 of the second Test

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SportsCafe Desk


After R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja broke through the Sri Lankan defence with relative ease, claiming seven wickets, India restricted the Lankans to a miserly score of 205. However, India failed to get a good start with the bat, as KL Rahul was dismissed early as India ended the day with 11/1.

Brief Scores : Sri Lanka 205/10 (Dinesh Chandimal 57, Dimuth Karunaratne 51; R Ashwin 4/67, R Jadeja 3/56) lead India 11/1 (KL Rahul 7, Murali Vijay 2*; P Gamage 1/4) by 194 runs.

Team India’s bowling combination creates confusion

Before the Nagpur Test, one of the biggest subjects of discussion was Virat Kohli’s request to create South African conditions for the team to play in against Sri Lanka. With India getting only a couple of days rest before the South African tour, the skipper wanted to transform their Test series into a practice session for the overseas challenge. While conditions at the Eden Gardens were made as ordered by the skipper, the Nagpur Test seemed to have similar bounce and assistance for the pacers.

However, Kohli surprised his opponents and confused the experts when he decided to go with just four bowlers - two spinning all-rounders and two pacers. This decision comes after Kohli had stated that he was unsure if India would play South Africa with two spinners. Though things went well for the hosts during the first innings, it could easily have gone the other way around had Ishant Sharma not struck early. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami absent, India decided to go with Umesh Yadav and Sharma, who took much of the workload before lunch. Kohli ran a huge risk of fatigue and if not for the conservative attitude of the Sri Lankan batsmen, that eventually took them down, India could well have been out of ideas, really quick. To top that, Ravindra Jadeja’s lightning fast overs also gave the pacers very little time to recuperate. Though the proceedings went well with Sri Lanka bundled for just 205 runs, thanks to Ashwin and Jadeja scalping seven wickets, this doesn’t look like a preparation for the South African tour that the management keeps talking about.

Karunaratne tries to stand tall in front of Indian bowlers

Dimuth Karunaratne has been one of the bright spots in a Sri Lankan side that has been reeling since the departure of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. After being the only player to show some sort of resistance against India, earlier this year, scoring 285 runs in three Tests at an average of 47.5, he then contributed 306 runs in four innings, against Pakistan which included a career-best score of 196 runs. 

After scoring only 9 runs in the Kolkata Test, he found his groove again in Nagpur with a brilliant half-century on the first day of the second Test. His 51-run knock was even more impressive considering the struggles that the other batsmen faced. Not only did he add to his three fifties in the year, Karunaratne became only the second player this year to score 1000 years in the calendar year.

India fail to take advantage of their created conditions

Virat Kohli had readily admitted after losing the toss that he wanted to bat first as the VCA Stadium strip was bound to be spinner-friendly after the first two days, which wouldn’t have helped India’s cause of practicing in South African condition. However, Ashwin and Jadeja made sure their skipper got what he wanted as they dismissed Sri Lanka with eight overs left in the day.

Sri Lanka, however, didn’t opt for their spinners in the remaining overs of the first day despite India getting success with them earlier. Hence, India got to face pacers on a bouncy and moving pitch as the skipper had envisioned, but to his disappointment, they didn’t deal with them any better, almost reliving the horrors of their first day in Eden Gardens. India ended the first day on 11/1 with Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay holding the mast, though not steady enough.

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