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India vs Sri Lanka First Test Match: Team India Report Card

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: November 22, 2017, 8:27 AM IST
India vs Sri Lanka First Test Match: Team India Report Card

Indian and Sri Lankan players walk off after the first Test ended in a draw (AFP Photo)

India almost pulled off a miraculous victory in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens on Monday, thanks to Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/8) and Mohammed Shami's (2/34) lion-hearted effort after Virat Kohli's 50th international ton helped the hosts set the visitors a stiff target of 231 runs.

Here is Cricketnext's analysis of each and every Indian player from the first Test match between India and Sri Lanka.

Shikhar Dhawan: Rating 7: Verdict: Good

Shikhar Dhawan came into the game under a lot of pressure, with many feeling Murali Vijay was unfairly overlooked by the team management. Seaming conditions saw Dhawan's weakness being exploited again as he was dismissed for 8, chopping one onto the stumps. In fielding too, he dropped Thirimanne, who went onto score a crucial half-century for Sri Lanka. But the way Dhawan fought back in the second innings showed why Virat Kohli trusts the opener so much. Dhawan was at his explosive best, as he smashed his way to 94 off just 116 balls, to give India the edge and wipe out Sri Lanka's first innings lead of 122. However, the conditions had eased in the second innings. With Dhawan rested for the 2nd match and Vijay likely to come back to open the innings, it will be interesting to see how the team lines up in South Africa where the conditions are likely to be even more pacer-friendly.

KL Rahul: Rating 7: Verdict: Good

KL Rahul scored a golden duck in the first innings but completed his 10th half century - 9th in the last 11 innings - during the second innings of the game. However, that is likely to leave the Karnataka batsman disappointed as he missed out on yet another ton after being dismissed for 79. This is clearly becoming a mental barrier now for the opener, as after getting off to a great free flowing start, Rahul immediately slowed down and showed signs of nervousness as he approached his ton. He played and missed a few deliveries, and it seemed that the century was playing on his mind.

Cheteshwar Pujara: Rating 8: Verdict Good

Cheteshwar Pujara showed why he is likely to be a vital cog in the Indian team going ahead as his gritty knock of 52 helped India post a challenging total in the first innings. Pujara waged a lone battle for India when all the other batsmen failed. Although, the mode of his dismissal - bowled - might worry him, as it again exposes his tendency to suddenly lose concentration when going well. He could have batted better in the second innings, as he was dismissed only for 22, but his knock in the first innings was more important given the whole context of the match.

Virat Kohli: Rating 9: Verdict: Excellent

Dismissed for a duck in the first innings, Virat Kohli came into the second innings without a big score in Test cricket for quite some time, something the star batsman is not used to. However, Kohli roared back to form in style with a 100, as he smashed the hapless Sri Lankan bowling all around the park. He reached his 100 off just 119 balls, helping India set Sri Lanka a target. What made the knock extra special was the fact that he kept losing partners at the other end, but that didn't stop him from going for his shots. He was superb with his captaincy as well, managing the fast bowlers well and constantly rotating them to ensure they remain fresh.

Ajinkya Rahane: Rating 3: Verdict: Poor

A rather poor match for the Mumbai batsman, as he missed out in both the innings, being dismissed for 4 and 0 in the two innings. Rahane's struggle in Indian conditions are difficult to explain, given the quality batsman that he has been over the years. He will be looking to set the record straight in the remaining two games.

Ravichandran Ashwin: Rating 3: Verdict: Poor

Ashwin batted above Saha in both the innings, but failed to contribute anything significant with the bat, with scores of 4 and 7 in the two innings. However, what was even more surprising was the fact that Ashwin went wicket-less in the game. Although, he didn't bowl in the second innings, he bowled 8 overs in the first one. The conditions favoured the quicker bowlers but still Ashwin has emerged as the biggest match winner for India in the recent past in the home season. Clearly Ashwin will look to up his game on wickets that are not tailor-made for spinners.

Ravindra Jadeja: Rating 4: Verdict: Poor

Ravindra Jadeja too had a poor outing, failing with the ball in both the innings and also not providing much support with the bat. He scored 22 in the first innings, with a couple of boundaries and a maximum. But he would be hoping to play a more important role with the ball in the remaining couple of matches. On the field Jadeja was his usual self, throwing himself around and making some quality saves.

Wriddhiman Saha: Rating: 5: Verdict: Average

Saha provided some support to Pujara but he failed to score big. He played 83 balls in difficult conditions, so he deserves credit for that. He was safe behind the stumps, but given that this game was played in Kolkata, Saha was expected to contribute more significantly with the bat.

Mohammad Shami: Rating 9: Verdict: Excellent

If there was someone who exploited local conditions to his advantage, it was Mohammed Shami. Shami got the ball to reverse swing and that too at pace. His line and length was accurate as well for the pitch. He struggled a bit with cramps in the first innings, but that was expected, given the searing conditions at Eden Gardens. Shami will now be looking to continue in the same rhythm in the remaining two matches and he will also be expected to spearhead the attack in absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Rating 10: Verdict: Excellent

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has become a completely new bowler since adding a couple of yards of pace to go along with his swing. Kumar is now a genuine wicket-taking bowler with both the ball and the bat. He can also bowl yorkers consistently which is an added advantage. He was named man-of-the-match for his figures of 8/96, in fact, in the second innings, he had figures of 4/8 and almost won the match single handedly for India. He has been rightly rested for the remaining two games, with the focus firmly shifting to the South African tour.

Umesh Yadav: Rating 5: Verdict: Average

The conditions were favourable for the faster bowlers, but inconsistency got the better of Umesh as he could finish with only three wickets in the game. He struggled with his line and length and that forced Kohli to go back to Shami and Bhuvneshwar for longer spells than he would have liked. With the likes of Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah (yet to make his debut) waiting in the wings, Umesh will have to pull up his socks in the remaining two games if he has to maintain his place in the team. Also, with Bhuvi rested, Umesh needs to be the perfect foil for Shami.
First Published: November 21, 2017, 1:32 PM IST

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