No one had expected Sri Lanka to stand a chance on Indian soil. Especially after India had humbled them on their home turf a few months back, whitewashing them in all three formats — Tests, ODIs and T20Is. A Test series victory against Pakistan in the UAE, in between, had given the Sri Lankan fans some hope of a better performance against India than the last time around. Although, India emerged victorious once again in the three-match Test series at home by a 1-0 margin, Sri Lanka did show signs of improvement as the series neared conclusion.
They started off in high spirits as an inspired spell of fast bowling from Suranga Lakmal on a seam-friendly Kolkata wicket took India by surprise. They gave their fans reason to celebrate by bowling India out for 172 runs on the first day of the match itself. However, the celebrations didn’t last long as they were outplayed in the rest of the match and in the following one at Nagpur as well.
This was followed by a run-fest for the Indian batsmen while the Indian bowlers played their part by tormenting the visitors’ batting unit. However, the visitors showed tremendous resolve by battling against their woes despite the pollution in the Delhi Test match to earn a well-deserved draw. Although the series saw some exciting spells of fast bowling from both the hosts and visiting team, the contest has been owned well and truly by the Indian batsmen.
Let us have a look at how the players from both the teams fared in the entire series.
Virat Kohli (Mat-3, Runs-610, Avg-152.50)
The Indian skipper was seen at his brutal best in this series once again. Although, almost all the Indian batsmen performed well in this series, Kohli showed that he belonged to a different league altogether as he smashed his way to a record 610 runs in five innings that included two back-to-back double tons, a century and a fifty. His double ton in the first innings of the third Test at Delhi also made him the player with the most number of double tons as a captain (six). He might well have earned a rating of 10 looking at his exploits in the series. However, a duck in the first innings of the first Test on a seaming Eden Gardens pitch has cost him 0.5 points, thus, making his final rating 9.5.
Murali Vijay (Mat-2, Runs- 292, Avg-97.33)
Murali Vijay proved once again why he should be India’s first-choice opener ahead of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul. He let his bat do the talking as he smashed a total of 292 runs in three innings that included a couple of centuries with a best score of 155. Neither Dhawan nor Rahul could make the same amount of impact on the series with the bat as Vijay did.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Mat-1, Wickets-8, avg-10.50)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the star of the Kolkata Test as he dismantled the Sri Lankan batting line-up almost single-handedly. He accounted for back-to-back four-wicket hauls in the match and his spell of 4/8 in the first innings had helped India gain the upper-hand in that match.
Dinesh Chandimal (Mat-3, Runs-366, Avg-61)
The Sri Lankan skipper kept the sinking Lankan ship afloat almost on his own throughout the series. He accounted for two fifties and a match-saving knock of 164 at Delhi.
Rohit Sharma (Mat-2, Runs-217, Avg-217.0)
The hit-man of limited overs cricket made his best case to fit into the Indian squad for longer formats for the first time in his entire career in this series. Rohit didn’t disappoint the Indian team management, which had included him as an extra batsman in the playing XI at the cost of a bowler. He repaid their faith with a century and a couple of fifties, thus, ending the series with 217 runs to his name with a best score of 102* and being dismissed only once in the entire series.
Dhananjaya de Silva (Mat-1, Runs-120, Avg-60)
De Silva replaced Lahiru Thirimanne in the final Test at Delhi and made an impact straight away. His knock of 119 in the fourth innings gave Sri Lanka the chance of an unlikely victory. Although, the match was drawn in the end, Silva’s knock turned out to be a match-saving one.
Cheteshwar Pujara (Mat-3, Runs-289, Avg-59.80)
Cheteshwar Pujara started off the series with a fighting knock of 52 at Eden Gardens when all other Indian batsmen failed. He followed that up with a knock of 143 runs in the run-feast at Nagpur. He finally topped it up with a brisk knock of 49 runs in the Delhi Test. His series tally, thus, stood at 289 runs in five innings that included one century and one fifty.
Roshen Silva (Mat-1, Runs-74, Avg-74.00)
Roshen Silva was selected at the expense of Dasun Shanaka in the final Test. He repaid the faith of the selectors as he almost stitched a match-winning partnership along with Dhananjaya De Silva with his knock of an unbeaten 74 in the fourth innings.
Shikhar Dhawan (Mat-2, Runs-192, Avg-48.00)
Shikhar Dhawan, very much like his limited overs opening partner Rohit Sharma, has been making his case for a regular Test berth as an opener ever since he has been given a chance to make a comeback. He had a decent run in this series with a tally of 192 runs in four innings that included a couple of fifties and a best score of 94, which came in the second innings of the first Test at Kolkata.
Ishant Sharma (Mat-2, Wkts-8, Avg-26.25)
Ishant Sharma carried his superb Ranji Trophy form into this series as he bowled with discipline and accuracy to bag eight wickets in two matches at an impressive average of 26.25. The lanky right-arm pacer troubled the Sri Lankan batsmen throughout the series with his accurate line and length on middle and off.
Mohammed Shami (Mat-2, Wkts-9, Avg-29.88)
Mohammed Shami impressed everyone with his brilliant spells of fast bowling in the entire series. A tally of only nine wickets doesn’t do justice to the way he bowled. He troubled each and every Sri Lankan batsman with his movement both off the seam and swing. He has certainly added some big-hitting to his batting arsenal as he showed while playing a couple of little cameos in the series.
Ravichandran Ashwin (Mat-3, Wkts-12, Avg-29.91)
Ravichandran Ashwin was a silent spectator in the first Test as he bowled eight overs in the entire match without any success while giving away 13 runs. However, that changed slowly as the series progressed and he picked up a total of 12 wickets in the entire series, with best bowling figures of 4/63. As far as batting is concerned, he couldn’t do much amassing only 20 runs in four innings.
Ravindra Jadeja (Mat-3, Wkts-10, Avg-25.90)
Ravindra Jadeja’s performance was on par with that of Ashwin as he claimed 10 wickets in the series after returning without any success in the first Test. He, too, could do nothing much with the bat as he scored 40 runs in four innings at an average of 20.
Angelo Mathews (Mat-3, Runs-196, Avg-32.66)
The former Sri Lankan captain showed signs of returning to form with a match-saving 119 in the second innings of the Delhi Test. Apart from that, he also scored a half century in this series.
KL Rahul (Mat-2, Runs-86, Avg-28.66)
KL Rahul has fallen down the pecking order from being India’s first choice opener to becoming merely a back-up option. He amassed just 86 runs in three innings. An innings of 79 in the second innings of the first Test at Kolkata was the only significant knock he played while he failed miserably in the other two innings that he played in the series.
Dimuth Karunaratne (Mat-3, Runs-124, Avg-20.66)
Karunaratne was the most impressive Lankan batsman when India toured Sri Lanka. This time around, he accounted for only 124 runs at a measly average of 20.66. He scored a couple of fifties in the Nagpur Test but failed miserably in the other two matches.
Suranga Lakmal (Mat-3, Wkts-8, Avg-46.25)
Lakmal impressed everyone by claiming 7/119 on a green wicket at Kolkata. However, he struggled in the remainder of the series claiming just one wicket for 251 runs.
Lakshan Sandakan (Mat-1, Wkts - 5, Avg-43.4)
Sandakan was drafted into the playing XI of the third Test as Rangana Herath was ruled out with injury. The left-arm Chinaman bowler picked up 5/217 in the match that also included a four-wicket haul in the first innings.
Lahiru Thirimanne (Mat-2, Runs-90, Avg-22.50)
Thirimanne once again failed to live up to his potential and the expectations of the fans and selectors. He returned with just one fifty in four innings.
Niroshan Dickwella (Mat-3, Runs-134, Avg-22.33)
Dickwella has been one of Sri Lanka’s most consistent performers with the bat in recent times. However, he amassed just 134 runs in six innings at a lean average of 22.33 in this series.
Umesh Yadav (Mat-2, Wkts- 5, Avg-35.40)
Umesh Yadav didn't have a good series as he managed only five scalps in two matches. He showed sporadic moments of brilliance, but he was largely wayward throughout the entire series.
Dasun Shanaka (Mat-2, Runs - 25, Bat Avg-8.33, Wkts-6, Bwl Avg-35.83)
Shanaka impressed with his bowling on a green-tinged Eden Gardens pitch in the first Test returning with match figures of 5/112. However, he accounted for just one wicket on the next match and also failed to live up to his potential with the bat.
Rangana Herath (Mat-2, Runs-71, Bat Avg-23.66, Wkts-1, Bwl Avg-115)
The old warhorse stitched a crucial knock of 67 in the Kolkata Test. However, he proved ineffective with the ball in the rest of the series before being ruled out with injury.
Lahiru Gamage (Mat-3, Wkts-7, Avg-56.57)
Gamage claimed seven wickets in the series but at the cost of too many runs. He leaked a total of 397 runs in the whole series resulting in his dismal average.
Dilruwan Perera (Mat-3, Wkts-8, Bwl Avg-58.62, Runs-62, Bat Avg-12.4)
Perera’s performance was pretty similar to Gamage. He leaked over 450 runs even though he claimed eight wickets. With the bat too, he doesn't have anything significant to show except his knock of 42 while opening the innings in the third Test.
Wriddhiman Saha (Mat-3, Runs-44, Avg-22)
A wicketkeeper’s job is the toughest in Test cricket. However, it can’t be neglected if he fails to perform with the bat. Saha scored just 44 runs in four innings and thus could not add further value to India’s lower order.
Sadeera Samarawickrama (Mat-3, Runs-74, Avg-12.33)
Samarawickrama came into this series on the back of a couple of impressive contributions in Pakistan. Although, a first-class average of 42.21 and strike rate of 80.52 promised a lot, he failed miserably to deal with the Indian bowlers. He managed only 74 runs in six outings at a dismal average of 12.33.
Ajinkya Rahane (Mat-3, Runs-17, Avg-3.40)
Rahane has been the biggest flop in the series as he failed to produce anything significant with the bat in the entire series. A total tally of 17 runs in five innings sums up how much he struggled and his form has been a real cause of concern for India indeed.
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