100 and counting

The best outcome of this Test — besides India notching up a win, of course, and keeping its home record against Sri Lanka intact — was the naming of Shantakumaran Sreesanth as man of the match.

Too often, adjudicators tend to be seduced by batting performances, and in this game it could be argued that either Sehwag or Gambhir, or both, should get the nod for setting the base for the big Indian score that broke Sri Lanka’s confidence and caused the visitors to implode twice in course of two days of playing time. Recognizing that on a pitch with nothing much to offer bowlers, Sree set the win up with his five-for merits applause.

Hopefully the award, and his performance over all, will finally teach the youngster the lesson that if he focuses on the bowling, and not on antics, he has a future yet, in an Indian team that badly needs good seam bowling options.

From a Lankan perspective, the stat that jumps out at me is this: the ninth wicket partnership between Thilan Samaraweera, currently top of the list for most Test runs in this calendar year, and Ajantha Mendis managed 73 runs in just under 20 overs [19.3 overs, actually] at a healthy 3.74.

It showed that for all the hype of a wicket that was “doing things”, batting remained easy. But what was really remarkable about that partnership is this: it was the second most substantial one for Sri Lanka in both innings combined; next only to the 82 runs added by Paranavitana and Sangakkara in 29.1 overs for the second wicket, after Tillekaratne Dilshan had perished to the first ball of the Lankan first innings.

As an indictment of the Lankan approach to batting in this game, that one fact tells the whole story; underlining it is the related fact that Sangakkara’s needless drive at a widish ball from Sreesanth that gave the bowler the first of his five-for signaled the beginning of the end for the visitors.

This game should have been a draw, but Lanka at no point showed bottle for the fight.

Enough said, till the contest resumes in three days at the DY Patil Stadium Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, some weekend homework: check out the nominated bloggers for the Indibloggies, and support the deserving with your votes.