‘Heroic Jadeja, listless Sri Lanka’: Highlights of Day 2 of 1st India-Sri Lanka Test

| Updated: 05 March, 2022 5:47 pm IST

MOHALI: On the back of Ravindra’s Jadeja’s terrific all-round performance, India are in a commanding position against Sri Lanka in the first Test at Mohali. At stumps on Day 2, Sri Lanka were reeling at 108-4 after India declared their first innings for 574-8. Here are the highlights from the second day of the first Test:

‘Rockstar’ Jadeja’s tribute to ‘Sir’ Warne

Before he made his international debut, Jadeja earned the laurels of Shane Warne when he (Jadeja) played under the legspinner for Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League. So enamoured was Warne by Jadeja’s talent that he gave him a sobriquet ‘Rockstar’.

A day after Warne’s sudden and unfortunate demise, Jadeja unfurled the best performance of his Test career with the bat as he cracked an unbeaten 175. Till he reached his hundred, Jadeja had smashed only 10 boundaries. He nurdled the ball around smartly and pinched a plethora of singles and doubles. But after reaching his hundred, he reeled off a host of boundaries in a bid to score runs quickly. He was particularly savage against Sri Lanka’s left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya and smote three sixes off him. 175* is the highest score by an Indian in Tests batting at No.7 or lower.

He was ably aided by R Ashwin, who scored 61, and later by Mohammad Shami. Jadeja and Shami stitched up an unbroken partnership of 103-run for the 9th wicket.

Though this is only his second Test hundred, Jadeja has been tremendously consistent with the bat at home since 2016. His batting average since the start of 2016 is over 50 at home. He has played a vital role, with bat as well as ball, in India’s brute domination at home.

Deadly’ declaration

Jadeja was batting at 175 and looked set to score a double hundred, when Captain Rohit Sharma decided to declare the innings. His declaration caught everyone, including Jadeja, by surprise as there is still a lot of time left in the Test. Moreover Jadeja was scoring at a brisk pace and would have reached the landmark in a few overs.

His declaration is being compared with Rahul Dravid’s declaration at Multan in 2004 when Sachin Tendulkar was batting at 194.

Abject captaincy, listless bowling

Sri Lankan bowlers looked completely jaded and listless on Day 2 as none of them showed any intent to wrap up Indian innings. Emduldeniya had bowled decently in the first session on Day 1 but Pant’s assault left him shattered. Today, he looked ridiculously innocuous and completely out of his depth. India were 357-6 at the start of the play and one wicket would have exposed the tail. But Sri Lankan bowlers didn’t show any zest or zip.

The captaincy by Dimuth Karunaratne was equally abysmal. Even after Ashwin’s dismissal, he allowed Jadeja and tailenders to get easy singles and that kept the scoreboard ticking. There was no effort to set attacking field and put some pressure on Indian batsmen. The insipid body language of the captain rubbed off on other players as well. His bowling changes were also shockingly terrible. He kept bowling Embuldeniya against Jadeja, fully knowing that the all-rounder relishes batting against left-arm spinners.

In the 125th over of the Indian innings, the left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando muffed up an easy run-out chance as both batsmen – Jadeja and Shami – were on the same end. This summed up Sri Lanka’s rudderless show on the field today.

The web of ‘spin’

After coming good with bat, the spin duo, Ashwin and Jadeja, smothered the visitors and left Sri Lanka reeling at 108-4 at stumps. Ashwin extracted immense bounce and turn and troubled all Sri Lankan batsmen. He also used his straight ball cannily to instil doubts in their minds.

Thirimanne, in particular, looked completely clueless against Ashwin and had a close shave many times before succumbing to the ball which didn’t turn and trapped him in front of the stumps. Ashwin’s record against left-hand batsmen in Tests is astonishingly stellar, as his average against lefties is 19.2.

Captain Karunaratne played a few fine shots but was undone by Jadeja’s shooter which kept low and turned viciously. Sri Lanka would have been in a deeper quagmire had Bumrah not bowled a no-ball. In the 32nd over of the innings, Bumrah had cleaned up Pathum Nissanka with a superbly-disguised slow ball but he overstepped. However, he made it up for that by nipping out Sri Lanka’s best batsman Angelo Mathews.

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