In international cricket, one of the key ingredients to success is the ability to maintain intensity on the field. When the Indians bowled on Wednesday evening, following the declaration, they had come out all guns blazing. I had mentioned that maintaining that purposefulness over the next day or two would decide the fate of the match. Well, the bowlers, led by Sreesanth, did just that to hand the Indians a great win. The result also brought up the 100th Test win for India in style.
Sreesanth bowled with a lot of purpose and aggression. His strength is the seam position he maintains and that was in full view in this Test. It was nice to see that he was always positive but not impatient. Sreesanth used the crease well, bowled at various angles and wasn’t afraid to use the bouncer to keep the batsman honest even on the slow, low track.
It is good to have Sreesanth back in the news for the right reasons. Everyone understands he’s talented, everyone in the Indian dressing room would have known that. They would have also been aware that Sree bowling well in Tests is important for Indian cricket. But he needs to understand that as well. Perhaps this performance will help him on that front and make him more committed.
It wasn’t just about Sreesanth though. Every other bowler, including the part-timers chipped in. Harbhajan’s wicket-taking deliveries were a real treat to watch and the best part of the bowling effort was that the pressure was always maintained, even when the wickets were not falling, an area the Sri Lankans were very poor in. The enormity of a total of near 650 was made to look bigger by the bowlers who bowled well in partnerships, giving the Lankans no respite at all.
I liked the way the debutant bowled. Pragyan Ojha could so easily have got carried away but the way he went about his job was impressive. It all turned out nicely for him and he cashed in. The Indians batted first, allowing for any butterflies in the stomach to settle, the runs were piled up and the pacers had struck when he came on, no debutant could have asked for more. He did return the compliment though by showing good control and discipline.
For sure, there would have been some sort of celebrations in the dressing room. These days, with hardly any time between Tests, there isn’t much time to celebrate but usually home Test wins are celebrated by spending some time in the dressing room after the match.
An early finish would also mean that players would get a day at home with the family before returning for the next game, and so the quality time together immediately after the match was considered the best way to celebrate.