India defeated Sri Lanka by an innings and 239 runs in the second Test at the NCA stadium in Nagpur courtesy an all-round performance by the Indian team.
India skipper Virat Kohli scored his 5th double century in the first innings. Sri Lanka was bowled out for a mere 166 in the second innings, and the Test match was over just after the lunch break on day four.
India equalled their biggest winning margin in Test matches, having defeated Bangladesh by the same margin in 2007. Sri Lankan batting had failed miserably in most of the recent games. The Sri Lankan team has been on a decline since the retirement of their batting greats Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan. They have failed to have some solidity in their batting line up.
In the current series as well, Sri Lanka lost the advantage of bowling India out for a low score in the first Test by not capitalising on it. In the second Test as well, they were bowled out for 205 and 166 in both the innings, respectively. Sri Lanka’s number three batsman Lahiru Thirimanne is under immense scrutiny for his poor performances in the two matches.
He scored a half-century in the first Test but disappointed in both the innings in Nagpur.
Former Sri Lankan batsman Gurusinha has questioned the ability of the top order,
“It is to me the most important position in the batting order – number three. Sometimes you walk in in the first over, or you stay in the dressing room for two or three sessions. The mental switch that you have to do between certain scenarios is huge,”
Gurusinha has also said that top orders poor performance is affecting the team,
“It is affecting us. It is a lie if we say no. Thiri played some very bad shots in the last game which he shouldn’t have. You said the word temperament, and that is lacking, the biggest issue that we are having is that we are not batting three or four sessions. That’s where we are struggling. If you are going to get 400 runs in an innings, you need at least one guy to bat long. That was one reason why we won against Pakistan as we scored 400 plus and batted for more than 150 overs,”
He has blamed T20 cricket for the current situation of Sri Lankan batting,
“Young guys who are coming into the Test squad are playing too much T20 cricket. Even schools are playing T20 tournaments. In three day games, they keep playing all these shots and get away, but Test cricket is Test cricket. The name says it all. It tests your mental toughness and your skill. That’s what we are lacking at the moment.”
When asked about IPL’s influence on Indian cricket he clarified by saying,
“I was talking to a couple of people in Indian coaching staff, and it is their Ranji Trophy which is quite strong. You take Ranji Trophy; there are big scores in every game. Even though they play IPL, all players need to go back to Ranji Trophy and perform.”
“Everyone is talking about Jasprit Bumrah, the T20 bowler. He is playing Ranji Trophy and is amongst wickets. I think India has told him that we are interested in you playing Test cricket, but you’ve got to go back and prove it to us. What IPL has done is to give so much talent. But they are harnessing in so many areas, one-dayers and Tests and building on that. I would love to have a scenario where we have to drop or rest someone, and the replacement is someone who averages 50 in Tests.”