The middle-order has once again let India down. The ball, after 44-odd overs, is now sufficiently worn out to grip the surface and bring a spring in the steps of Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan. India must claw their way back in the opening session on the second day. Or else it would be too late. The haunting memories of the first Test came visiting as the middle-order made a quick procession back to the pavilion. Barring Virender Sehwag, the others looked pretty tentative.
India's innings is far from over but there are unmistakable giveaways. The batsmen weren't prepared to wait at the crease and Sri Lanka got a sniff of it early. They employed Chaminda Vaas just when they saw the batsmen throwing caution to the wind. Unfortunately, his semi-collapse put Sehwag's master-class under a shade. His use of feet against the spinners was delightful. Sehwag lost little time in getting down to the pitch and, excuse me if I detected a smirk on his face after he had blasted Mendis over long-on for the maximum.
Sehwag invariably is a factor in such revivals. He was always going to be a central figure because of the pace at which he gets his runs. This is beyond any other batsman in the team. Let others keep adjusting and fiddling their techniques but Sehwag must bat the only way he knows to bat. No less praise for Gautam Gambhir who wants to revive his Test career. Gambhir has won back his spot in one-day cricket; his performance in T20 has been stirring, and even though his technique seems ideally suited for low and slow wickets of the sub-continent, his success on Australian pitches suggests he is a man of substance.