Sunday, August 03, 2008

India defeat Sri Lanka by 170 runs to regain lost pride

By John Cheeran
India hit back in style at Galle on Sunday as spinner Harbhajan Singh combined with Ishant Sharma and Anil Kumble to turn the tide in tourists’ favour and defeat Sri Lanka in the second Test by 170 runs.
One is tempted to think what a crucial role toss plays in Test match cricket. Sri Lankan captain won the first Test at Colombo with the toss as his side put up a huge score and two Ms, Muralitharan and Mendis, dragged Indian batsmen to their death to inflict a humiliating innings defeat.
Now India has returned the favour. Anil Kumble won the toss at Galle, batted first, put up a decent score thanks to a defiant innings from Virender Sehwag. Then, Harbhajan made amends for the patchy show in the first Test by snaring the magnificent Sri Lankan batters at their home ground.
Yes, it was not toss alone. Sehwag showed the way for the rest of the Indian batsmen with his sure-footed, aggressive run making and Harbhajan’s haul of ten wickets put the seemingly invincible Sri Lankans in trouble. They wilted.
Again without a meaty knock from Sachin Tendulkar, India has fashioned an overseas Test win. The significance should not be lost with the win.
Skipper Anil Kumble deserves some praise for keeping faith in the side that lost without putting up a fight in Colombo and going into the second Test. Not that the victory cleanses the side of its sins and blemishes. Zaheer Khan is pathetic as a fast bowler though he is the senior most pacer. Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly are not in hot form. Dinesh Karthick needs a break, especially when one thinks of the circus with his spelling.
But for the moment, the force, or is it the toss, is with India.

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