With the series sealed, India can try out Balaji, writes L. Sivaramakrishnan
Everything is going according to plan for Team India. Right from the calculated call of ‘tails’ at the toss to the spirited partnerships, India is on a roll.
Will they set a new record by winning nine in a row? In reality, it actually does not matter. When a team is doing well, the records they may set on the way is more for the history books, than what they may really be focusing on.
Muralitharan too is looking at records of his own. The Indian batsmen however are not making things easy for him. They are refusing to let either Murali or Mendis settle into a rhythm by constantly rotating strike with singles and twos.
To make matters worse, even good deliveries are treated with nonchalance; let alone the bad ones.
Piling on the pressure
Sachin may have been unlucky three times but Yuvi and Sehwag made merry. A record partnership of 221 took the game from the Sri Lankans right away.
Dhoni’s decision to take the batting power play when the two batsmen were well settled also helped piling the pressure on the bowlers.
Mendis was bowling with the expectations of the people. This burden was added with the pressure already building because of the Indian strokeplay. The absolute disdain with which Sehwag and Yuvraj treated the bowlers left the Lankans in a quandary.
Once the Indians had crossed the magical 350 runs mark, asking the opposition to chase was a tall order.
Yusuf, Ojha perform
Yusuf Pathan was identified earlier by Dhoni as a pinch hitter for the batting power plays. Though Yusuf was not called to play during the power play, he nonetheless satisfied the faith reposed in him.
Big sixes and quick running between the wickets ensured him a fifty and his captain’s confidence.
Though our fast bowlers may have given away a few more runs than they may have wanted to, we had enough runs on the board for them to not worry too much on this account.
Pragyan Ojha made the best of the opportunity given to him. He bowled a steady line and his reward was four wickets.
Now that India has wrapped up the series, they may be looking to experiment with the team combination.
They may look to giving one of their fast bowlers a rest and try out Balaji, who has been away from the international side for a while now.
Balaji’s performance at the IPL and more recently in the other domestic tournaments has shown how much he has worked on his fitness.
He has changed his technique and is raring to go. It might be interesting to see how he performs given the fact the last international match he played was in Sri Lanka