India vs Sri Lanka, 4th ODI: Bowling riches leave hosts happy

  • Somshuvra Laha, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Nov 14, 2014 03:44 IST

Notwithstanding the five deliveries Virat Kohli bowled to cover for Varun Aaron in Cuttack, India have tried out 11 bowlers in four matches of the series so far. Even though it has been a run feast all along, it would be calling the cup half-empty if India's bowlers are denied their due.

It is only Mahela Jayawardene's class that fetched him a deserving century in Hyderabad in a one-sided series that has seen India score four hundreds. It's entirely the India bowlers' credit to have succeeded in restricting Sri Lanka well below 300 in every match so far. They did it with pomp without Aaron in Cuttack. At Eden Gardens, they didn't even have Ishant Sharma.

Apart from saying a lot about Virat's bowler management skills, it also bodes well for India's World Cup preparations. Take Stuart Binny's case. It was partly his swing and Virat's planning that produced identical dismissals of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal. With Suresh Raina positioned at short cover, all Binny had to do was to pitch the ball up and lure Dilshan and Chandimal into committing drives.

Akshar Patel continued to look impressive as he managed to draw Angelo Mathews, who ended up with the highest individual score for the Sri Lankans, and allow Robin Uthappa to complete the stumping. Patel might have ended with a high economy rate but that delivery showed he too has a few variations up his sleeve. Dhawal Kulkarni might have to wait for a permanent slot in the India line-up but with the four wickets he took on Thursday, he displayed his eagerness to improve.

But top of the line is the manner in which Umesh Yadav has transformed himself in this series. He bowled quick, produced bounce and showed the kind of control that gave him an economy of 4.75, the lowest among India bowlers at Eden Gardens on Thursday. The prized possession for him though was Jayawardene's wicket.

Doing what he is best at, Umesh sent a straight, fuller delivery that trapped Jayawardene leg before while trying to play across the line. Among other things, it snuffed out even the faintest hopes of Sri Lanka had.

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