If there was relief in rain on Sunday, it caused anguish two days later. India must have thought they could make a match of this one on Tuesday against Sri Lanka after staging a Herculean recovery from a position that was threatening to go the Sunday way. Rain at that juncture would probably have been welcome, but not after the resistance and subsequent counterattack from Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The second successive tale of rain ruining cricket early in the Commonwealth Bank tri-series left India in a slightly advantageous position because with four points, they will be ahead of one team if the third match of the series pitting Australia against Sri Lanka on Friday produces a result. But they will obviously be happier to have put up a decent total on the board after staring at yet another collapse.
More than the runs they put together, the manner in which Gambhir and Dhoni reconstructed the innings was reassuring. A repeat of Sunday was looking as imminent as the rain when from 68 for no loss India slipped to 83 for four. Mutthiah Muralitharan has his tail-up after striking twice in his first over and of the two batsmen at the crease, one had hardly spent time in the middle in Australia and the other had done little in the Test series to instill confidence.
So it had to be head down, bat straight for a long time and it was commendable that Gambhir and Dhoni, both known for their penchant for shots, did just that over a considerable period. It was a perfect example of playing according to the need of the hour and from India’s point of view, it was most encouraging to see that happen after losing three of their most experienced batsmen.
Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag had blunted the new ball and were scoring at a decent rate before falling to what can be described as soft dismissals.
Tendulkar had started well, driving Chaminda Vaas smoothly on the up and despite being beaten by two deliveries that came back in, appeared to have settled down. But he fell in exactly the manner he had in the first innings of the first Test, dragging a shortish ball back onto the stumps off the inside edge.
Sehwag had warmed up with a stunning six over long-on off Vaas, but tried to pull one that was too close and when Muralitharan lured Yuvraj Singh into a drive away from the body, India were in trouble. The situation turned worse with Rohit Sharma getting a wrong decision as the new batsmen had to concentrate solely on occupying the crease without thinking of scoring.