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Sri Lanka vs India: 1st Test - Players ratings

Analysis and rating of Indian team's individual performance in the first match of the series against Sri Lankans.

Indian team must be disappointed the way things finally ended

The first Test match was just pulled out from the jaws of the Indian team by the brave Sri Lankans. Commentators Sunil Gavaskar and Sanjay Manjrekar had very wrongly adjudged India as the winner of the match even before the lunch was over on the third day. But, the Lankans proved all the arm-chair experts wrong with their spirited turnaround. There could not be a better example of a comeback after having their backs against the wall in the first innings than this.

The celebration of Lankans on the field after the fall of the last Indian wicket was the testimony to the fact that how much of an effort it took to stage a comeback.

Indians must be in shock; dreading a tongue lashing from Ravi Shastri in his inimical accent. Indians can be held guilty of relaxing a bit too early in the match, they started counting their chickens even before the hen mated.

The burden of this article is to rate the players on the basis of their performance in the first Test match. 

Let the ratings begin:

Lokesh Rahul – 1/10

This 23-year-old was the key member of the “Who’s gonna be the opener?” debate. But, with Murali Vijay’s unavailability, he became the automatic choice to open alongside the maverick Shikhar Dhawan. This first match was very important for Rahul to prove himself to the selectors that he can be the long-run option in the Tests for India, but sadly, he fell early in both the innings.

He could have stayed put in the middle and played second fiddle to Dhawan. The scores of seven and five in the two innings stand out as a blot in his resume and he needs to come back with an inspired performance to remain in contention.

Shikhar Dhawan – 9/10

There were a lot of opinion pieces about his technique not being suited to the longer version of the gentleman’s game. Even Sanjay Manjrekar in one his expansive pieces had pinpointed three specific chinks in his batting armour. But, then like the bumblebee which although is aerodynamically not fit for flying, keeps on hopping from one flower to another, Dhawan has been cracking centuries after centuries on various continents.

He, along with Virat Kohli, was instrumental in posting a formidable total in the first innings. In the second innings, he batted through in a lot of pain in his right hand. So, for his fighting spirit, we rate him 9, one point has been deducted for getting out in a flimsy manner in the first innings. 

Rohit Sharma – Who picked him? (0/10)

Sharma ji has again provided fodder to the twitterati to put up funny tweets in the wake of his disappointing performance. Luck was on his side in the first innings when he was caught LBW on a no ball. But that reprieve didn’t last longer as seven balls later he got himself out in the similar fashion. On the international level, this kind of batting is not acceptable at all, that too from a player who has been labelled as “The Talent”.

As one commentator said, “Talent can bring you to the international stage, but performance will keep you there”. Even in the second innings there was no change in his fortunes, he was flummoxed by a very simple delivery. He completely missed the line and the cherry went on to clip the top of his off-stump. The only question that selectors need to answer is “ Who picked him?”

Virat Kohli – 7/10

Captaincy has done the world of good to this brash brat of the Indian cricket. In the last four matches he has captained, he has kept the scorers busy, putting four centuries on board. His attacking brand of cricket and staying with the five bowlers lineup may change the Indian Test scene in the coming future. He shuffled the bowlers brilliantly and they also rose to occasion taking 20 wickets. His shot selection was good, but clearly, he needed to anchor the innings for India in the second innings, hence the seven points.

Ajinkya Rahane – 6/10

Had he scored more runs than the number catches he lapped up in the first innings we could have rated him higher. He was played as the specialist batsman who could hold the spine of the Indian batting lineup. His dismal performance in the first innings got covered up by his brilliant display of athleticism in the field, but the second innings deserved his attention.

It was expected of him to guide India closer to the total, taking the help of tail. Anyways, he has created one hell of a record for himself; eight catches in a single match by a non-wicketkeeper should stay unbroken for a long time. 

Wriddhiman Saha – 3/10

The selectors have shown a lot of faith in Saha, despite his previous failures. They have not even picked a spare keeper in the playing 15. Saha played reasonably well in the first innings, but the way he was dismissed in the second innings have raised a lot of questions around his temperament. The situation demanded defensive and patient batting. He dropped a simple catch too. So, he should be worried, the long rope extended to him by the selectors can also end quickly as there are a lot of other strong contenders for this position. 

Harbhajan Singh – 2/10

This series might be the last chance of Harbhajan to stage a comeback in the Test side as a permanent feature. The intent is there, but his famed wicket taking ability on spinning tracks may have taken leave of him. He could not surprise the batsmen with his variety and pitch. His spell after the lunch on the first day of the Test failed to impress and batsmen found ways to score easily against him.

Ravichandran Ashwin – 10/10

Ashwin has exceeded the expectation of fans, team and selectors. He has analysed his game and restricted bowling too much of variety. In his extended spells, he sticked to the basics and batsmen found it troubling to score against him. No wonder he picked up a ten-wicket haul. This must have boosted his confidence. Ashwin pitched the ball right up and varied his flight to fox the batsman, aided by the acrobatic fielding, he single-handedly demolished the Lankan batting line up. We hope that he keeps repeating such feats.

Amit Mishra – 7/10

He played the ideal second-in-command to Ashwin and tied up things from the other end. He mixed the balls well and managed to pick a couple (2,3) on both the occasions. Mishra has justified his selection and should get more opportunities to display his craft.

Ishant Sharma – 6/10

Ishant set the tone of the Indian bowling with his fiery morning spell on the first day. He quickly dismissed the opener Dimuth Karunaratne. Ishant bowled in right areas and troubled the batsmen with bounce and accuracy. He played his bit with the bat also in the second innings as the night-watchman. His rating could have been higher had his economy rate (5.92) been better. Ishant needs to work hard on controlling the run flow too.

Aaron Varun – 3/10

Varun needs to get his economy rate under control to put pressure on batsmen. His eco figure of 5.57 and 6.18 with one wicket apiece in both the innings should force him to up his ante in the next match. He has the speed, just a bit of accuracy can make him lethal with the new ball in the subcontinental conditions. 

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