India vs Sri Lanka: Second Test Talking Points


India cruised to a comfortable victory over Sri Lanka courtesy of a dominant batting display led by captain Virat Kohli. India’s spinners dismissed Sri Lanka for just 205 on Day 1, as Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja took four and three wickets respectively. Opener Murali Vijay and number three Cheteshwar Pujara lead India’s charge, as they piled on a 209 run stand. Vijay was eventually caught on 128 but when Kohli came to the crease he simply augmented Sri Lanka’s woes. In the end, India accumulated a huge total of 610-6 declared, with Pujara contributing 143 and Rohit Sharma added an unbeaten 102. However, it was Kohli’s 213 that stole all the headlines. A comprehensive all-round bowling display from India saw Sri Lanka dismissed for a dismal 166, giving India an innings and 239 run victory. This article looks at the main talking points from the one-sided clash in Nagpur.
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Sri Lanka’s Batting Woes Continue

On paper, Sri Lanka’s top order looks relatively strong. Opener Dimuth Karunaratne has established himself as being a very competent Test batsman, and he has the likes of the experienced Angelo Matthews and the explosive Dinesh Chandimal accompanying him. However, except for Chandimal, no Sri Lankan batsman really stood up. The young opener┬áSadeera Samarawickrama only managed 13 in the first innings, but even more excruciatingly only survived two balls in the second. Matthews’ contribution of two scores of ten was far from significant and it was disappointing to see such an accomplished player failing to contribute for his team. Lahiru Thirimanne, Sri Lanka’s long term number three, ground out a determined innings of 9 off 58 balls in the first innings. In a way, this was encouraging, for it showed that Sri Lanka still had the grit and fighting spirit which we are used to seeing of them. It is impossible to win a Test unless you have a big score on the board and Sri Lanka’s top order really struggled. Ever since Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardene retired, Sri Lanka’s batsmen have struggled and their woes seem to have no end in sight.
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Pujara and Kohli Extend Phenomenal Form

India’s Cheteshwar Pujara is in scintillating form and has been aptly been supported by his captain Virat Kohli. These two batsmen have been India’s highest Test run scorers over the past year, contributing over 2,000 runs between them. Part of the reason for this has been the very batting friendly conditions on offer in the subcontinent, as they put South Africa, England and New Zealand all to the sword. Indeed, Pujara made history by batting for eight consecutive days over the course of the first two Tests against Sri Lanka, showing how he is almost omnipresent in the game. Pujara and Kohli have scored the bulk of India’s runs this year and for any side to challenge India, it is necessary to find a way to dismiss them. It is hard to think of a better number three-four pairing in the world right now. However, their imminent overseas tours will be a real test for them.
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Does Rohit Sharma Have a Test Future?

Rohit Sharma’s limited over career is unparalleled, boasting an incredible two ODI double hundreds. However, his Test career has been far from successful. Rohit has only played 22 Tests and has routinely been excluded from India’s Test plans. However, the aggressive batsman hit three fifties against New Zealand earlier this year, to end a poor run of form that encompassed India’s tour of the West Indies. Now that Rohit has found some Test form, India have to consider what role he should be playing in their side. India have a plethora of openers to chose from and it is unlikely that he will be considered for that sport. Instead, India could keep him down the order at number six. However, when India tour overseas, it could be the case that they resort back to Ashwin at six to allow them to play an extra seamer. It will be very interesting to see how the Indian selectors act when it comes to picking him for South Africa and England.
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Ashwin’s Record

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made history with the last ball of the Test match, as he became the fastest bowler to reach 300 Test wickets. He surpassed Dennis Lillee’s record of taking 56 Tests, as Ashwin raced to the milestone in just 54 matches. Some fans have since made the comparison to Muttiah Muralitharan, who completed this feat inside 58 matches and went on to take an incredible 800 wickets. Ashwin, though, has struggled throughout his career to take wickets outside of the subcontinent. His poor overseas record is particularly bad in England, where India are set to tour next year. Also, it seems that India’s long home season is coming to an end, as their next real assignment is to tour South Africa – which will not suit Ashwin. Therefore, to really establish himself as a true legend of the game, Ashwin will need to excel in these series and consistently pick up wickets.
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