MOHALI: It was supposed to be a test match mark for three stalwarts of the Indian team – Virat Kohli played his 100th Test and broke the 8000 point mark; Rohit Sharma led India in a Test for the first time and on Sunday R Ashwin overtook Kapil Dev’s tally of 434 Test wickets.
DAY 3: HOW IT HAPPENED | SCORECARD
Yet when India concluded the first Test against Sri Lanka, winning the game by one set and 222 runs, the man who stood out on the play was Ravindra Jadeja. His match numbers of 9/87 and unbeaten 175 the previous day were the driving force behind India completing the rout in three days.
When he cleared Lahiru Kumara in Lanka’s opening innings to complete a five-wicket run on the third morning, he became the third Indian to score 150 runs and take five wickets in a Test match after Vinoo Mankad and Polly Umrigar. first Indian to do so in nearly 60 years is further proof of his caliber as an exceptional all-rounder. Jadeja assured there was no respite for a Sri Lankan team which can best be described as ordinary.
Sri Lankan cricket’s problems were cruelly exposed as they were knocked out twice for 174 and 178 in four sessions. Indians gave the hitters no respite. Nissanka’s undefeated 61 in the first inning and Niroshan Dickwella’s unbeaten 51 in the second inning were outliers in a batting formation that was touchy throughout.
For the Indian camp, which has displayed its reservations for more than a year, it was a test to initiate the transition. Jadeja may have been the face of this test, but this series has a bigger meaning. The new-look middle order minus Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane will keep the leadership of the team anxious until they manage to settle.
Hanuma Vihari at #3, Rishabh Pant at 5 and Shreyas Iyer at 6 is not yet a set pattern.” We are not so sure about anything at this time. We understand what is right at this time particular and we are moving forward. the time to come you will realize who is the No. 3 player for us. At the moment it’s Vihari and he has done pretty well. He will also continue to do so in the next test,” Rohit said after the game.
Rebuilding a squad at a time when it is delicately poised to compete in the World Test Championship could be tricky. Rohit explained: “It’s not just about 11 players. It’s also about those who are waiting on the outside, who want to take their opportunities. It’s about creating the force bench which is what the “The future of Indian cricket will hold. They are a relatively new team in all three formats. Two of our stalwarts in Ajinkya and Pujara are missing, Saha is not there, Ishant is not there.
“For me what’s important is how I approach these guys who are sitting outside and how I can put them in a good frame of mind. We will try to support them as much as possible so that in the end of the day, they know ‘I had my chance. If I didn’t do well, I’m still happy as long as my role was clear.'”