India vs Sri Lanka 2017: Combined XI of the tour
While India bossed Sri Lanka across formats, there were few wonderful performances from both the sides which makes a strong XI out of this tour.
Published - Dec 25, 2017 12:10 pm | Updated - Dec 25, 2017 12:10 pm
Finally, Sri Lanka’s gruelling tour of India came to an end as they could pocket only a solitary win across formats despite promising a lot on either side of the horrible losses. They started the tour scaring Virat Kohli and Co. in the helpful conditions in Kolkata Test but succumbed to a huge innings defeat in the next game. But soon in Delhi, they put up a great fight courtesy their senior players and drew the game to lose the Test series by 1-0. The limited overs leg, however, was one-sided to a large extent apart from their surprise win in Dharamsala. It was all one-way traffic since then as they lost all the remaining five game including three in the T20I series.
India on the other hand extended their home dominance and ket their record intact of not losing a bilateral series throughout the year across formats. There were a lot of memorable performances mostly for the home side with their leaders Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli creating records of their own with the bat. Even few Sri Lankan played showed sparks of brilliance and at times the senior players also put their hands up albeit it was too late. Still, their coach Nic Pothas was positive throughout and admitted they were outplayed but learnt a lot on this tour.
Here we look at the combined best XI of the tour across formats:
1. Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma was absolutely a treat to watch throughout the last month or so as he smashed tons in all the three formats. Most importantly, he was fluent in Tests despite warming the bench for more than a year. He scored 596 runs in 9 innings combined and was also the captain for the limited overs series with Virat Kohli being rested. Hitman created some unbelievable records in the process by scoring the third double century of his ODI career and also equalled the fastest T20I century in 35 balls. He has also hit the most sixes (64) this year out of which 27 came on this tour against Sri Lanka. He would love to continue in the same vein in the upcoming South Africa tour as well.
2. Murali Vijay
Murali Vijay made his comeback in the Test series after being on the sidelines due to injury since the conclusion of the home series against Australia in March earlier this year. He was drafted into the playing XI in the second Test match after Shikhar Dhawan was released from the squad due to personal reasons. Vijay grabbed on to the opportunity and slammed two centuries in three innings to cement his spot in the team. He finished with 297 runs at an average of 97.33 with a best of 155. India would want him to do the same in South Africa too and provide the team with great starts.
3. Virat Kohli (c)
Virat Kohli seriously belongs to another planet the way he amassed his runs during the Test series. Apart from the duck he registered in the first innings in Kolkata, he literally played with the visitors bowling attack smashing record 610 runs in 5 outings with the bat. His back-to-back double centuries were a treat to watch but the century he scored at Eden Gardens in the second innings was the best one given the conditions and the situation of the game. He changed gears so nonchalantly on the final day mid-way through the second session which had almost scared Sri Lanka in the end even after bossing the game for most parts of the first four days.
His leadership was once again hailed by the cricket experts and his art of leading from the front every time he steps onto the field is excellent. It remains imperative that he needs to score runs in South Africa if the team needs to compete in alien conditions.
The former skipper of Sri Lanka, Angelo Mathews, redeemed himself on this tour and finally clicked with both ball and the bat. His troublesome hasn’t allowed him to bowl much but whenever he bowled on this tour, he threatened and also picked crucial wickets with the new ball. The defiant century in the Test series in Delhi was also a testimony of a tough character in him as he continued to shine in the ODIs also. His tour though was cut-short during the second T20I with the hamstring injury. Overall he scored 196 runs in whites, 153 runs in ODI series with the bat and was also effective with the ball up front picking four wickets in the limited-overs leg of the tour.
The captain of the Test side Dinesh Chandimal was class apart during the Tests and it was surprising he wasn’t selected for the ODI series which followed. He was the only batsman in the lineup who fought throughout the series amidst the wickets falling at the other end regularly. He was also the second highest run-getter of the series only behind his Indian counterpart with 366 runs at a brilliant average of 61. His best score of 164 in Delhi helped his team get close to the huge first innings total posted by India. Also, he had scored twin fifties in the second Test in the losing cause and stood out for them.
6. MS Dhoni (wk)
MS Dhoni didn’t have much to do with the bat in the six matches he played during the ODI and T20I series. He was tested in Dharamsala and he came up with a defiant knock of 65 bailing his team out of the rut at 29/7. His contribution behind the stumps was impeccable though guiding the young spin-twins of the Men in Blue. In the shortest format, however, he batted at four which did wonders to his form and scored at over a strike rate of 150. Going forward there is a possibility that his role might change in the shortest format and bat up the order. Though he also finished the game in Mumbai on Sunday reminding his finishing skills to everyone.
7. Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin remained the top bowler for India in Tests with 12 wickets including a couple of four-wicket hauls. His exploits with the bat are also useful to the team more often than not though he failed miserably in this series. But his wily off-spin bowling was once again at its best and he proved why he is rated as one of the best. The cricketer from Tamil Nadu also became the fastest to 33 Test wickets surpassing some of the all-time greats of the game. He is working hard for the upcoming tour of South Africa and would want to improve his records overseas by troubling Proteas batsmen.
8. Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal has redefined the life of writs-spinners in India this year and has bamboozled strongest batting lineups with his variations. He is not afraid to toss up the ball even on a flat wicket which has earned him heaps of wickets. He finished as the highest wicket-taker in both ODI and T20I picking six and eight wickets respectively in 5 outings. Moreover, he also climbed to the top of the tree in T20Is in 2017 to become the bowler with most wickets. He was rested for the final game in Mumbai else he would have added more to his tally. The leggie looks confident and will improve more after playing away from home in the upcoming year.
9. Suranga Lakmal
Suranga Lakmal turned out to be the best player for Sri Lanka on this tour. He rocked the famous Indian batting lineup twice in helpful conditions. Kolkata and Dharamsala were the venues where he was literally all over the Indian batsmen who were found wanting against the new ball. His first ball of the series to KL Rahul in Kolkata was a peach and then he never looked back. His spell of 4/13 in the first ODI was the best by an overseas bowler in India in the recent past. He just didn’t get enough support from the other end else the visitors would’ve walked away with at least one trophy this time around.
10. Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma comes into this side only because of the impact he had in the game in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He ran in hard and hit the deck making the use of his height to the perfection. He was involved in the game throughout and troubled the Sri Lankan batters with some seriously good bowling. It seemed that he had found his rhythm at the right time ahead of the important tour of South Africa and might well be the key player on bouncy wickets. Ishant ended the series with 8 wickets in 2 matches consistently providing the breakthroughs in every innings.
11. Jaydev Unadkat
What a revelation Jaydev Unadkat has been !!! He came back to the side after making his debut at the international level in 2010. He opened the bowling for India in all the three T20 Internationals and finished with the economy rate of just over 4.5 which is unbelievable. He should be the answer for India’s search of the left-arm seamer after Ashish Nehra bid adieu to the sport in November. Unadkat was also awarded as Man of the Series and all the hard yards are finally paying off for him. He played his best game at Wankhede and also earned Man of the Match award too. This might well be the second start to his career and hope that this time he is here to stay.