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Right from the toss things went right for India in Kanpur, leaving Sri Lanka with plenty of thinking to do, especially on the bowling front
November 28, 2009
India won the second Test convincingly in Kanpur. MS Dhoni and the boys will be surprised with the ease with which they won, specially after the resistance Sri Lanka put up in Ahmedabad. They dominated the Test there but it was an absolute no-show here; it was a soft performance from them and I'm sure Kumar Sangakkara will be disappointed with that.
Winning the toss will always be an advantage in India, and Dhoni has done that job well in the two Test matches. The Indians once again batted brilliantly, which is so important on the first day of a Test as it just sets up the game for the team.
Virender Sehwag must be a satisfied man after the hundred - his last Test century was nearly 15 months ago, which is not something you associate with him in Tests. His success rate is superb and it amazes me why he doesn't replicate it in one-dayers. Every time he bats, he scores at such a pace that it puts the team in a winning position, and it was the reason India got to 400 on day one in Kanpur. He played some breathtaking shots against the spinners and that's where he is so good. He has to learn to do that in one-day cricket as he has not performed to his potential in that format.
Gautam Gambhir once again batted beautifully. He is in the form of his life and just doesn't look like getting out. He said that the reason he is playing well is because he feels secure in the team. This is true, and this should be applied to every player; the captain's faith is very important in a player's career, and Dhoni has given Gambhir that. He just gets better and better every day, and is the best Indian batsman at the moment.
I also admire his mental state. He decided to take the final Test off for his sister's wedding. A lot of people will jump off their seats on hearing that, but I think he has done the right thing. Family is always first and sisters' weddings are special for their brothers.
Sri Lanka will have a lot to worry about before the next Test in Mumbai. They will have to rethink their combination, as playing three spinners is a luxury against India. They must remember that if two can't deliver the third one won't. The extra spinner will always be under-bowled. The best combination for Sri Lanka on Indian soil is two spinners and two fast bowlers.
Sri Lanka need to rethink their fast bowling attack as well. Winning a Test in India with Angelo Mathews taking the new ball is absolutely impossible. Sri Lanka may want to think of Dilhara Fernando in place of Mathews in their side for the third Test. The track at the Cricket Club of India will be helpful for fast bowlers and Dilhara would be the better option with his extra pace and bounce.
I am also eagerly waiting to watch Muttiah Muralitharan at his best in Mumbai, because it is probably his last series in India. That fact should provide some extra motivation for him to mark the Test with an extraordinary performance. To do that he needs proper bowling support from the other end. Here Ajantha Mendis comes into the picture. I strongly believe that Mendis is a class bowler and class is always permanent.
|Sri Lanka need to rethink their fast bowling attack. Winning a Test in India with Angelo Mathews taking the new ball is absolutely impossible|
I think he lacks confidence, but he can bring out his excellent bouquet of variations any day. The reason for Mendis' success has been his accuracy and of late he has lost that. He needs to spend some time in the nets and it will come back soon. He must also remember that with the start he has had in his career, he will go through a phase like the one at present, and he needs to hold his head high. Players around the world will work him out and he needs to get it right so that he again becomes the threat he used to be. His and Murali's performances will be key in the final Test, on a pitch that will assist them.
As for India, I am very happy with Sreesanth's performances. I have always had huge faith in his talent. He is one of the rare fast bowlers who can use the seam properly both ways. I hope Sree will not look back from here and will justify his talent properly. He can do everything else for the rest of his life but he cannot get back this golden time of his cricket career. I strongly feel that the Indian fast bowling attack with Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma can do well both home and abroad. Now it's Sree's turn to take this opportunity and become a permanent member of the team.
It will be a good Test in Mumbai as the pitch will provide a fair contest between bat and ball. The Sri Lankans will have to improve their performance or it will be an uphill task for them right till the end of the one-day series.
Sourav Ganguly led India in 49 Tests between 2000 and 2005, winning 21Feeds: Sourav Ganguly
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