India completed another comprehensive victory over hosts Sri Lanka in the lone T20 match, riding a very good bowling display. The visitors were without two senior pros, Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag, and, I think, they were not missed at all in this game.
It was once again Irfan Pathan and Ashok Dinda, who bowled beautifully in conditions where the ball swung throughout the game. These new Sri Lankan venues are very open and with the change in the nature of pitches in that country it has started assisting seamers. These are also signs that the Sri Lankans are now aware of their weakness in the spin department and hence trying to approach the game differently.
Sri Lanka were a huge force at their backyard during the days of Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda D'Silva, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas but this young Sri Lankan team will have to stand up along with their two great players in Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene if they really want to become a force to reckon with in world cricket.
The young Indian team has shown lot of good signs in these conditions. Irfan has gone from strength to strength in every game of this series. He bowled very well, it's not only the swing but also the zip is back and we will have to wait and see, if and when his opportunity comes in Test cricket, whether he will be able to last five days both with the old and new ball.
For me, the find of the series is Dinda, who finished with four wickets in the T-20 game. Time has come to draft him into all forms of cricket because he has pace and fitness, which is going to be very important in Tests. Dinda knows how to reverse the old ball which is important in subcontinent conditions. To successfully do that one will have to bowl at 135-140 kmph which he can. Dinda and Umesh Yadav along with the more experienced Zaheer can bring solidity and variety to the Indian bowling attack.
Kohli was once again in sublime touch. He is in a zone, as they say in batting and some of his defensive pushes are racing away to the fence. This is again the sign of mind and feet being in right symphony.
India have finished off the series very well and will be looking forward to the New Zealand series in a much more confident manner.
The writer is a former India captain (360 Corporate Relations)