I am not writing because India has won the test match and leveled the series, I am writing to explain myself why we won and why we should win.
Perceptions are like mirror, you see what you see in front of it, you see what you also want to see. I do not know if its a mistake to come to an opinion based on few incidents but, I can say for sure that given some circumstances, if a person acts out of selfishness and disguises himself to overcome defeat, then I would definitely say that opinions can be changed. I had great respect for Sangakkara and Jayawardhane as they are two of Cricket’s most prized bastmen. However, recent incidents have prompted me to change my opinion not on their batting abilities but their deceptive practices. There were a total of 5 incidents with Sangakkara appealing caught behind when very clearly either the ball has missed the bat or the bat the pad are in different zip codes and the ball has brushed the pads and was given out. These incidents happened during a spinners spell and keeper stands right behind the sumps. He is no ordinary wicket keeper nor an inexperienced campaigner. For his stature, he knows what is right and what is wrong and yet he chose the path of deception. Jayawardhane normally stands in slips again during spinner spells and either he held a catch off of the pad or taken it after a pitch, repeating this incidence again more than 6 times recently and yet appealed and got the wicket. Anyway, the discussion is not about these two individuals. Its about team India.
So Jayawardhane had an opinion that India does not deserved to be #1 in Test ranking because they were able to beat them by 10 wickets in the first test match. He was partly right for the fact that Indian never went with their #1 team to Sri Lanka. Had that been the case, Jayawardhane would be putting socks in his mouth for all the three tests. He is wrong because his team is almost in second place but have never won a test match against India in India and Australia in Australia. So their credibility does not give them an advantage of speaking about ranks. There is a difference between #1 Team and #1 Side. While the Team means that a specific set of players needs to be present, a side is any player playing for that country. We did not took our #1 Test team to Sri Lanka and only represented with a #1 Test Side. However, a commendable performance from the team made sure that they draw the series and with thumping authority. Had Sri Lanka lost any toss, they would have never won a match, forget about winning in my opinion it would all have been innings defeat for them. India showed why they are #1 side, placing their first and second innings of the 3rd test match to perfection. Had not our run-rate is in excess of 5 in the 1st innings with Sehwag’s blistering batting literally putting his left leg on Sangakkara’s head, there would have not been any result for the match as Sri Lanka were always trying to save the match rather than winning it, they displayed their ability in the second test match by exactly doing it.
I do not deny that Sri Lanka is a good side, but they are immature and deceptive. Ishant Sarma’s wicket was a good example of Sri Lanka’s sportive incompetence and umpire’s inability to overcome pressure. Much hyped Mendis was nullified while “I don’t know why Malinga bowls” ended up expensive. To declare Mendis a spinner in itself is a big joke (sorry! but I do not have anything against him). He himself does not know what he is bowling. All he does is to vary his finger positions frequently and see what happens. Unlike orthodox spinner or an orthodox break bowler, his bowling is inconsistent to the best. You ask him to bowl two similar balls, forget about the spin, he would not be able to do it. His run up to the stumps and delivery far disqualifies him to be called a spinner. Sri Lanka always had these deceptive advantages, one with Muralitharan who got an exception from ICC to be able to bend his arm, as if there are no spinners in that country who can bowl without bending an arm.
Test Cricket and Cricket in general is a joke in Sri Lanka, they would like play on player’s disabilities and deceptive practices rather than playing on merit and skill. I don’t know whether Jayawardhane knows that his side does not even deserve playing Test Cricket or not, but definitely they should not be in 2nd or 3rd position. I am glad that India had won this match as more than themselves it was critics and unreasonable cricket fanatics (self declared Indian Team haters) who needed their win. It will satisfy their ego of going against their own team and give an opportunity to shut their mouths for a while until India loses another one.
All the teams have produced some of the best Cricketing ambassadors and yet India had the unique distinction of producing ‘the greatest’. Dravid’s legacy is much bigger than his failure in this test series and Harbhajan’s intelligent bowling is more than his failure (of course few people knew that he was not even physically fit to play for that matter any match due to flu). Suresh Raina has maturity in his batting and I am glad that we are again producing some great batsmen of his calibre. Irrespective of how consistently he scored, certain players show the ability to learn from mistakes that take them to great heights. Samaraweera is one such great example on Sri Lanka’s side. His resilience, attitude, ability is what makes him a great cricketer, I hope to see him and scale new heights in his career and contribute greatly to Sri Lanka’s cricket.
Understanding the game and thinking to have understood the game are different. Even a persona like Tendulkar says how he learn new things every time, we are mere mortals. The game has enough charm, brain, wit, fortitude and brilliance that it always scores above the pupil who play it.
Long live Test Cricket and Test…………Cricket.