Sri Lanka v India: Combined XI of the Test series
Indian players dominate the list but the Sri Lankan names included did make a mark for themselves.
Updated - Aug 15, 2017 4:24 pm
A fairly one-sided Test series came to an end with India registering a thumping victory by an innings and 171 runs at Pallekele. Virat Kohli and his troops proved too hot to handle for the Sri Lankan players and this resulted in them getting whitewashed on their home turf.
There were certain moments in the game where Sri Lanka did have the upper hand, but they never looked competent enough to beat this on song Indian side. Senior pros in the team didn’t come true to the expectations which is indeed a problem for the Lankans as the likes of Upul Tharanga, Rangana Herath, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal had a relatively poor series.
Let’s take a look at the players who managed to bag themselves a place in the Combined XI of the series.
The Player of the Series Shikhar Dhawan amassed his runs at a staggering pace and he took the onus upon himself to slay the opposition. He notched two hundreds and piled up 358 runs at an average of 89.50 in 4 innings. He also has the best strike rate amongst the players who scored more than 200 runs in the series.
The 29-year-old Dimuth Karunaratne’s performances was one of the few positives for Sri Lanka. He finished as the third highest run scorer behind Pujara and Dhawan with 285 runs in 3 games. The left handed batsman scored a breathtaking century at Colombo in the second Test and led a fantastic fightback, but that couldn’t save his team from the inevitable.
As resilient as ever, Cheteshwar Pujara is getting better with every series. He again impressed one and all by notching two hundreds in the first two Tests and these days, he tends to score the runs a lot quicker than he did in the past. Pujara scored 309 runs at an average of 77.25 and played a crucial role in helping India get gigantic scores in the first two Tests.
Virat Kohli (C)
Though it was not the best series as a batter by Virat Kohli’s standards, the skipper did fulfil his part in the side. He was spot on with his tactics and bowling changes. He also scored a terrific hundred in the first Test and helped his side register a mammoth second innings lead. Though he amassed just 151 runs in the series, he will be happy with a fact that he led his side to an emphatic series win.
Ajinkya Rahane has always been a class act and though he was out of form for sometime, he seems to be back amongst the runs. He looked a lot more solid when compared to the last season and is continuing the good form he showed in the ODI series against West Indies. Rahane amassed 229 runs in the series at an average of 76.33, which also includes a hundred in the second Test.
Ashwin is starting to establish himself more as an all-rounder these day than just the lead spinner. Everytime he comes out to bat, he sticks to the crease with an intent and puts a price tag on his wicket. He has the perfect temperament for a Test batter and as always, not many could handle his bowling on these subcontinental pitches. With 17 wickets, he finished as the highest wicket taker in the series.
Of both the wicketkeepers who appeared in these Tests, Dickwella was a tad better than his opposite number. He was fantastic behind the stumps and also added some crucial runs coming in the middle order. In 3 games, he scored 227 runs at an average of 38 and finished as the second highest run scorer amongst the Islanders.
The Sri Lankan spinners will not be able to sleep well the next few days as a certain Hardik Pandya will keep haunting them. The all-rounder made his Test debut in this series and straight away, he made a great impact for the side. He scored a terrific hundred coming in at number 8 in the third Test and also picked up some crucial wickets whenever the ball was thrown at him.
The world number one bowler Ravindra Jadeja once again proved his mettle and picked up 13 wickets in the two games he played. Jadeja was instrumental in the big wins in the first two games and he also registered a crucial half-century coming in to bat lower down the order. Though he missed the third Test, it was a satisfactory series for the all-rounder.
Numbers don’t speak the truth but Lahiru Kumara was indeed spectacular in this series. The 20-year-old fast bowler who made his debut in October 2016, bowled his heart out but the Indian batsmen were too good for him. There were a few spells in the series where he literally looked unplayable, but he didn’t have the fortune on his side to strike more wickets.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Shami was the best fast bowler in the three Tests. The 27-year-old was spot on with his pace, line and length and the Lankan batters had a horrid time facing him. He compiled 10 wickets in the three Tests and finished third best, behind Jadeja and Ashwin on the wicket-taker’s list. With an average of 17.7, Shami had the best average amongst all bowlers.