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India put away the sweep shot, Sri Lanka swear by it in Colombo Test

India and Sri Lanka’s skippers have differing takes on the sweep shot, with Virat Kohli terming it a high-risk option and Dinesh Chandimal believing it was a necessary risk.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 06, 2017 23:38 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Colombo
India vs Sri Lanka,India national cricket team,Sri Lanka national cricket team
Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews plays a sweep shot during the 2nd Test against India. (AP)

Seldom have we seen two teams employing completely contrasting batting plans to tackle the same conditions. Despite Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane dominating Sri Lanka’s spin attack by using their feet well, it was interesting to watch the home batsmen play cross-batted shots against R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. And they did that successfully with Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis both getting hundreds.

“After the second day’s play we felt it was tough to bat on it (this wicket). We tried to play straight but couldn’t score well. Before the second innings we had a discussion on what was the best way to score runs. Everyone agreed, moving forward it was using the sweep and reverse sweep heavily. We executed really well in the second innings. We fought back hard,” said Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal, explaining his team’s strategy.

High-risk shot

Talking about the contrast in approach, India captain Virat Kohli said everyone has his own strengths. But for him, sweep remained a high-risk shot.

“People play in different ways and I don’t think they drove even a single ball. There was no driving on that pitch. My approach or Ajinkya’s or Pujara’s might be very different, so it’s all about finding ways to score. It happens in cricket sometimes that you play a particular shot and suddenly it becomes productive in that particular innings for you.

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“But as soon as you get out, then you start thinking twice because it is a high risk shot, to be honest, against the pace of Jadeja, especially for the right-hander. But it (Mendis) was a high-quality innings, not one sweep was mistimed or misconnected or in the air. So, we have to give credit to the batters.”

The most disappointing for Sri Lanka has been the inability of their spinners to make an impression on the Indian batsmen, especially with the best left-arm spinner in Rangana Herath in their ranks.

Mathews only bats

“At the moment we have two experienced bowlers, Rangana and Dilruwan Perera. We had a wicket that turned and we expected them to come to the fore. But we couldn’t execute those plans in this game,” said Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal.

Sri Lanka chose only one pacer, and when Nuwan Pradeep got injured, Chandimal was left with only spinners. In Angelo Mathews, he has a terrific seam-bowling all-rounder, but for a while now on his physio’s advice, Mathews is only playing as a specialist batsman following a hamstring injury.

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Chandimal said Angelo not being able to bowl was a massive loss. “Angelo used to bowl in the last five-six years and he gave us a good balance. It’s a massive loss if you want to get the combination right.”

First Published: Aug 06, 2017 19:54 IST