India just did not have the batting depth to win Galle Test
Virat Kohli and his mostly raw team of young men, goaded by an over-the-top aggressive team director in Ravi Shastri, made so much noise before the start of the series against Sri Lanka, giving the impression that India is a team full of beans and would sweep the hosts off their feet.columns Updated: Aug 15, 2015 17:43 IST
The Galle cricket ground is like a picture postcard for the tourism industry of a country. Sri Lanka has many such beautiful spots, where the roar of the sea waves play hide and seek with its beaches. Galle's intimidating fort gives it an antique-like ambience, which is rare for a cricket ground. But for many, including me, the memory of this scenic country is more to do with the amount of sweat you are forced to shed due to the almost unbearable heat and humidity.
Even the cricket India has played in this country over the years has rarely been of a quality that you would associate with a team playing in slow, low turning conditions that they otherwise revel at home.
Virat Kohli and his mostly raw team of young men, goaded by an over-the-top aggressive team director in Ravi Shastri, made so much noise before the start of the series, giving the impression that India is a team full of beans and would sweep the Lankans off their feet.
It is, however, one thing to be confident and even aggressive off the field, and another to execute what you think and believe you can. The difference between confidence and arrogance may be a slight one, especially when one fails to deliver. Sometimes the best strategy is to let your deeds do the talking instead.
This Test match result may have stunned Indians from their smug slumber, especially those who think the Kohli-Shastri combine is the best thing to have happened to Indian cricket in its transition phase.
This may still be true, but the glaring deficiencies of the team, which this Test match has exposed, will not be easy to overcome. The strategy of going into a match to win and have five frontline bowlers to implement that plan is fine on paper. Unfortunately, it puts too much pressure on the batsmen, most of whom are struggling, inconsistent and not sure of the difference between one-day cricket and Tests. (Match report)
The same, if not more, can be said about the bowlers. In this post-IPL era, does India have enough quality spinners to exploit a turning track? Ashwin may be an exception, but it speaks poorly of India's bench strength that they had to go back to an ageing, listless Harbhajan Singh and a sluggish Amit Mishra.
These observations may not be palatable to all those who believe IPL has been the best thing to have happened to Indian cricket, especially those who say that its impact on Indian Test cricket has been positive. If this Galle Test shows anything, it does clearly that India have a lot of rethinking to do if they want to excel in Test cricket.
This Sri Lankan team is not the best their country has had, and if anything, probably worse placed than India at a similar rebuilding stage. They too are grappling with an uncertain future but this victory against all odds could well be the best news for them for the rest of the series.