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lankans in a spinIndia players celebrate the fall of a Sri Lankan batsman on the first day of the second Test in Nagpur on Friday. PTI

lankans in a spin

After ending wicketless in Kolkata, Ashwin, Jadeja pick seven wickets between them to bowl Lanka out for just 20525 Nov 2017 | 2:07 AM

NAGPUR: The Sri Lankans don’t bite. Their pacers lack top pace or swing, their spinners have been blunted by the conditions. Their batsmen, for all their talent, have lacked discipline. All this has caused India to treat this three-match Test series as an extended nets session, to prepare for next year’s Test series in South Africa.

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Rohit Mahajan

Tribune News Service

Nagpur, November 24

The Sri Lankans don’t bite. Their pacers lack top pace or swing, their spinners have been blunted by the conditions. Their batsmen, for all their talent, have lacked discipline. All this has caused India to treat this three-match Test series as an extended nets session, to prepare for next year’s Test series in South Africa.

Nic Pothas, the Sri Lankan coach, says he and the team are not bothered by this apparent lack of respect for his team; even if they are bothered, they’ve not properly channelised their anger/hurt. They’ve not been able to put up a show of skill and mental resolve to teach the home team a lesson in humility.

Lost opportunity

Sri Lanka had the opportunity to do it today, the first day of the second Test. They won the toss on a wicket which had a light grass cover, but the green tinge was illusory, for the wicket did nothing for the pacers or spinners. The sun blazed overhead; the grass eroded beneath the feet. It became a wicket waiting for a patient man to earn his 100, even 150. Demons? Zero!

Yet, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 205 on this track, after choosing to bat first, and having reached 160/4 in the third session. Their last six wickets went down for 45 runs, in 18.2 overs. This must be said, though — they went down with guns blazing, not in meek defence but in outrageous attack. Attack was the preferred mode of self-destruction for opener Sadeera Samarawickrama, the first man down, and several others followed in his footsteps in the afternoon. This was madness — this can’t be your first-day batting method if you’re trying to win a Test.

The fall

Niroshan Dickwella, a day after earning praise from Kohli for his combative spirit, initiated Sri Lanka’s afternoon horror. He tried to hoick Ravindra Jadeja, bowing over the wicket, to midwicket, but the ball didn’t turn — it went up high for an easy catch to Ishant Sharma at mid-off. Dickwella had his head in his hands in agony, and Virat Kohli was skipping up and down in a celebratory dance, like a thrilled schoolboy, so happy was he with the wicket, for it exposed Sri Lanka’s longish tail.

A little later, captain Dinesh Chandimal (57) played a horrible shot, a reverse-sweep against Ravichandran Ashwin; Chandimal perhaps wanted to gather the runs while he could. He should be kicking himself for playing that shot at that stage.

Four Lankan batsmen were out lbw. Pothas noted that six of his batsmen were dismissed by straight balls. “Ashwin and Jadeja got wickets bowling stump to stump,” Pothas observed. “At this level you can’t be missing straight balls.”

Tight bowling

The Indians bowled with discipline right from the start, though they posed no mortal threat: Their best pacemen from Kolkata were missing — Bhuvneshwar Kumar had the small matter of his own marriage to attend last night, while Mohammed Shami was kept out by an injury. Umesh Yadav, the third-best pacer in Kolkata, shared the new ball with Ishant Sharma.

In the morning, Samarawickrama perished playing far from his body, and Dimuth Karunaratne and No. 3 Lahiru Thirimanne became ultra-careful, adding 24 in 20 overs.

Then, out of the blue, they played some ill-advised shots — Thirimanne falling lbw to Ashwin, Karunaratne getting dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara off a lofted drive and then getting stumped off a Jadeja no-ball. Karunaratne’s luck, and some doughty batting from Chandimal, took Sri Lanka to 122, when Karunaratne finally fell, lbw to Ishant for 51. A partnership of 38 between Chandimal and Dickwella raised hope of a total of at least 300, but suddenly, Sri Lanka’s batsmen began to leap off the cliff, so to speak.

In the eight overs they played, India lost KL Rahul, inside-edging while playing away from the body. 

Tomorrow morning, Sri Lanka’s pacers get a chance to make up for their batsmen’s follies. If they fail, the Test will rapidly slip away from their fingers.


19.91 Ravindra Jadeja enjoys a superb bowling record in Tests on home soil — 124 wickets in 24 Tests at an average of 19.91  

304 R Ashwin (163 wickets at 22.73) and Jadeja (141 at 20.75) have completed 300 wickets (304) in 28 Tests while bowling in tandem


Not South African at all!

It’s not a South African track, even by the wildest stretch of imagination. Yesterday, Virat Kohli confirmed what some of his teammates had said earlier — India are trying to use this series as preparation for the tour of South Africa. That’s the reason the Indians, who’ve never liked greentops, have asked for grassy pitches for this series. But the wicket at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha, some 18km from the city, has either been a slow or a vicious turner. Following the team’s request, the curators tried to make the pitch greenish, but merely adding green colour to the surface didn’t help; plus it was not a deep shade of green. Regular watering managed to keep the surface greenish, but the wicket is dry underneath. The most famous greentop ever made in India was produced at Nagpur, in the old stadium in the city, for a Test against Australia in 2004. Ironically, that was forced on the team, despite protests by captain Sourav Ganguly, who opted out of the Test at the last minute.


Scoreboard

Sri Lanka Ist innings 

S Samarawickrama c Pujara b Sharma 13

D Karunaratne lbw b Sharma 51

L Thirimanne b Ashwin 9

A Mathews lbw b Jadeja 10

D Chandimal lbw b Ashwin 57

N Dickwella c Sharma b Jadeja 24

D Shanaka b Ashwin 2

D Perera lbw b Jadeja 15

R Herath c Rahane b Ashwin 4

S Lakmal c Saha b Sharma 17

L Gamage not out 0

Extras: (LB-2 NB-1) 3

Total: (all out; 79.1 overs) 205

FOW: 1-20, 2-44, 3-60, 4-122, 5-160, 6-165, 7-184, 8-184, 9-205

Bowling

Ishant Sharma 14-3-37-3

Umesh Yadav 16-4-43-0

Ravichandran Ashwin 28.1-7-67-4

Ravindra Jadeja 21-4-56-3

India 1st innings 

KL Rahul b Gamage 7

M Vijay batting 2

C Pujara batting 2

Extras: (0) 0

Total: (For 1 wkt; 8 overs) 11

FOW: 1-7

Bowling

Suranga Lakmal 4-1-7-0

Lahiru Gamage 4-2-4-1

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