India vs Sri Lanka 2017: India's woes in the slip cordon continue
India's slip fielding remains an area of concern, after the side dropped numerous catches in the ongoing Test match against Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi. This happened after Virat Kohli decided to declare the Indian innings with the scoreboard reading 536/7 following Sri Lankan players' complaints about the pollution levels.
India got off to a rollicking start with the ball as Dimuth Karunaratne was caught behind off the bowling of Mohammed Shami off the very first ball of the innings. Sri Lanka were soon reduced to 14/2 as Dhananjaya de Silva was sent back to the hut by Ishant Sharma. The Indian fast bowlers, however, were unlucky to see catches dropped off their bowling time and again.
Dilruwan Perera was dropped by Shikhar Dhawan at 2nd slip, shelling a straightforward chance and to make matters worse, he parried the ball onto the helmet behind the keeper, resulting in India being penalized five runs. Moments later, Angelo Mathews was offered a reprieve by Virat Kohli, again at 2nd slip, the unlucky bowler being Ishant this time around. Kohli was visibly upset after dropping the catch.
With India's tour of South Africa just on the horizon, it is worrying to see their unsettled slip cordon dropping catches frequently. With the South African pitches expected to aid the faster bowlers, it is imminent that India sort this out soon. Cheteshwar Pujara has shown a lot of promise at the crucial 1st slip position in the current series, while Shikhar Dhawan has a dreadful history of dropping catches in the slips. Ideally, Kohli should always take the 2nd slip position, with Murali Vijay filling in at 3rd slip. Among the current bunch, Ajinkya Rahane is the safest bet at gully.
Slip fielding requires lots of concentration and a sound temperament, and this combination would hold the Indian team in good stead for future tournaments.