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Sunday, August 08, 2010

MSD maintains his no-loss series record

Mahendra Singh Dhoni at Adelaide OvalImage via Wikipedia
By winning the last test in Sri Lanka, India avoided the series defeat and managed to retain captain Dhoni's record of not having lost a series so far. Dhoni has now captained India to 10 wins in his reign of 16 matches (2 of them ending up on the losing side). After winning the first test convincingly, the Lankans fortunes dipped due to various reasons - Muralitharan's retirement being one of the main one.

The Lankans will have to endure the journey of not having workhorses like Vaas and Muralitharan till they find one who can take wickets on foreign soils as well. Malinga, definitely, is one potential match-winner but his fitness seems to be a cause of concern. Even in this series, he missed the 2nd and didnt bowl much on the final day of the series. Randiv has potential to be the lead bowler but he needs support from the other end. Mendis has been critically viewed by Video analysts all over the world which has helped batsmen face him better - he needs to reinvent himself to be a better bowler than what he is now. Without this, it is very difficult for Sri Lanka to continue their impressive run at home also.

The Lankans bowled more and took more wickets - Randiv, Malinga and Murali were the highest wicket-takers in the series. Sangakkara scored the highest runs on both sides but the Indians fought back hard in the series after Murali's departure. Sehwag starred in the Top-5 players in both the batting and bowling charts - he thoroughly deserved to be the Man of the Series.

Just like the Oz team won the ODI series in India without their main bowlers to justify their No.1 status, the Indians did a repeat by  drawing the series even after the two strike bowlers (Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh) withdrew from the bowling line. The batting department seems to be working just fine with Vijay being an impressive reserve for the openers. Yuvraj and Raina provide options to the fourth slot at the middle-order where Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman provide the experience. Dhoni's batting was not upto the mark in this series but he managed to rally his team well at the crucial times. The fourth day of the 3rd test was one where India had a whiff of victory and they grabbed it with both hands. The victory could have come earlier but for some strange tactics by the captain.

Mithun was one of the finds of the tour, though he didnt have many wickets to show - a good potential worth investing, just for his fitness. Ojha did what was expected of him in the last test and repaid the faith of the Team Management. Mishra did do  better than what Harbhajan had managed in the first two tests, both with the bat and ball. But, overall, the spin department is also a cause of concern for the No.1 team - something that needs attention before the Oz come home.

The No.1 ranking continues for one more series - it wouldnt have mattered if they had lost the series though. The Indian team did well to come from behind and level the series - that showed glimpses of character that is expected from a No.1 team. Will they manage to show the same level in the next series against Australia? Let us hope they do.
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