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Sehwag entertained, Laxman proved his critics wrong again and Raina took his chance to play Test cricket in style
Sidharth Monga in Sri Lanka
August 8, 2010
Virender Sehwag entertained
Started off with a sparkling century, then fell prey to what he calls boring cricket. Was guilty of not respecting a new offspinner enough, and even got out to a defensive stroke, which by Sehwag's definition, is a huge crime. But hey, look at what he did: two smashing 109s and a 99, an average of 69.6 and a strike-rate of 97.47. There is obviously more to admire than to complain about.
Gautam Gambhir played just five balls
Was at the wrong end of superb spells from Lasith Malinga in Galle, and then injured his knee before the second Test. Played no further part in the series.
M Vijay fit in, just about
Even though the SSC pitch was flat, Vijay had, and usually has, the disadvantage of getting ready for a Test match at a short notice. Scored 58, 14 and 27 in the three innings he got, but looked better than that.
Rahul Dravid didn't struggle but made mistakes
Never really looked in trouble, but found ways to get out. He ran himself out in the first innings in Galle, hit straight to backward short leg in the second; fell over when facing Angelo Mathews in the first innings of the last Test, and watched the ball topspin onto the stumps after his dead-bat defensive. Will be disappointed.
Sachin Tendulkar brought sanity
Got a ripper from Malinga while trying to save the Galle Test, but kept his head after the Sehwag madness at the SSC and saved the Test with a double-century. Played a bad shot in the first innings at P Sara but made up for it with a crucial fifty on the final day.
VVS Laxman shut his critics up again
Once again came up with a special knock when the team most needed it, making up for the disappointment of getting run out when batting with the tail in Galle with a draw still a remote possibility. When the hour came, though, so did Laxman.
Yuvraj Singh had a middling tour
Scored a fluent century in the tour game, then a fifty in Galle, but was owned twice by Murali. Then came a bout of fever before the second Test, after which he was kept out by his replacement.
Suresh Raina took the chance that came his way
Scored a century on debut that came at a time when India were staring at a third straight instance of failing to reach the follow-on mark on the tour. The increase in confidence showed in the assured manner with which he knocked off the final few runs in a tense chase at the P Sara Oval.
MS Dhoni wasn't at his best
Struggled with the keeping because of an injured finger, dropped a catch in the first Test, and failed with the bat. Looked tired as a captain too, falling back sooner than he perhaps should have.
Harbhajan Singh will like to forget the tour
Landed. Got swine flu. Two wickets in four bowling innings, playing with the after-effects of the flu and a side strain. Played a horror shot in Galle when the team needed him. Injured his calf just before the third Test, on the most helpful pitch, and went home.
Abhimanyu Mithun and Ishant Sharma put in all they had
One a debutant; one a young man forced to become the leader of the attack. Both of them kept running in, impressing the team management immensely with their spirit. Weren't the most fortunate, but also stuck it out with the bat.
Pragyan Ojha was persisted with, correctly
Struggled when bowling first on good batting surfaces in the first two Tests, but with the turn at the P Sara Oval, came into his element. Took seven wickets in the match, including Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene twice.
Amit Mishra can do better
Struggled with no-balls both in the tour game and in the only Test he played. Still managed to find himself on a hat-trick and also scored a crucial 40.
A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches
Bide your time, put your body behind each delivery, and play with the batsman's mind