Eyes On Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, Gambhir In Kanpur TestTheir batting inconsistency and bowling frailties laid bare in the hard-earned draw in Ahmedabad, India will go into the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka on Tuesday hoping not to repeat the follies again. The
Their batting inconsistency and bowling frailties laid bare in the hard-earned draw in Ahmedabad, India will go into the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka on Tuesday hoping not to repeat the follies again.
The famed Indian batting line-up both embarrassed and redeemed itself in the Ahmedabad shirtfront, where it collapsed like a house of cards in the first innings and then rose from its ruins in the second to salvage a draw from the jaws of a seemingly imminent defeat.
But to expect such resurgence everyday would be to invite trouble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men would do well to learn the lessons from their Ahmedabad escapade and mend their way.
On a placid track where nearly 1600 runs were scored, including seven centuries -- a subcontinental record -- and just 21 wickets fell over five days, nothing could gloss over the Indian top order's inconsistency.
The Indian camp has called in wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh karthik as cover for captain Dhoni who is nursing a minor finger injury.
The Indian stumper hurt his finger in the Ahmedabad Test but the team management said it was not a serious injury and the Indian captain was likely to take the field. The fact that Dhoni batted and bowled in Sunday's practice session was proof that the injury was not serious.
The underlying story of India's first innings display in Ahmedabad was their incapability to see through the morning session, when the ball tended to move a bit.
Inside eight overs after Dhoni had opted to bat first, India lost its top four batsmen for 32 measly runs and Sri Lanka's joy knew no bound to see the backs of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.
And the early morning blues came to haunt India again on day two. After the broad blades of Rahul Dravid and Dhoni had weathered the storm, the hosts, resuming at 385 for six, folded inside another 15 overs.
Already the pitch curator here has advised the batsmen to exercise some caution, at least in the first two days' morning sessions before they embrace extravagance.
The hosts, however, can take heart from the fact that they have a judicious blend of swashbucklers and sheet-anchors, which makes it so difficult for the opponents to tame them.
Rahul Dravid has always been the bulwark of the Indian line-up and now Gautam Gambhir has also proved that his is not merely a one-dimensional game and he just cannot be dismissed as just another mindless slogger.
The left-hander has proved that he has the temperament also and if situation merits, he can stay rooted, frustrating the rivals with his impregnable defence.
Incidentally, it's now Sehwag who finds his form under scrutiny. Licensed to thrill, the Delhi dasher is one of those rare players whose strength is his weakness.
Other than that, Dhoni has no major worry with the batting lineup. Dravid at number three is a formidable fortification that can test the patience of the rival bowlers and provide the perfect platform for a VVS Laxman to display his mastery or a Yuvraj Singh to strut his stuff.
In the bowling department, however, Dhoni will have some worry as beside Zaheer Khan and sporadically Ishant Sharma, none of the Indian bowlers could impress in Ahmedabad, let alone sending shivers down their opponent's spine.
Most unimpressive has been the spin attack and Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra just cannot hide behind the convenient truth that the dead-as-dodo Ahmedabad track was unresponsive to the slow bowlers to say the least.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, would go into the match believing they had India on the mat in Kanpur but a dull track, coupled with some unimaginative captaincy by the defensive Kumar Sangakkara, robbed them their chance to snap the 14-match winless streak on Indian soil.
Their batting line-up looks in apple-pie order where the top and middle order batsmen have fired in unison. Tillakaratne Dilshan is just too good and innovative to be curbed and his opening partner Tharanga Paranavitana has no issues playing the second fiddle as long as it suits the team.
Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera are also in good nick while Mahela Jayawardene's penchant for really big knocks is something India would do well to keep in mind. PTI