The manner in which the Indians have lost the first test to the Sri Lankans is absolutely shocking. The abject surrender in just one and a half days of play by a team which is renowned for its prowess in playing quality spin bowling is appalling, to say the least. Some of the best spin bowlers in the world have struggled to make a mark against Indians and it is disturbing that a couple of spinners from the sub-continent have dealt a crushing blow to this reputation and reduced the Indian domination of spin bowling to a myth.
What is even more worrying is the manner in which the Indians lost their wickets. That most wickets fell to close-catching positions (catches at slips, forward short-leg, lbw’s, caught and bowled, etc.) is an indication that all is not well with the Indian batting. It is clear that most batsmen failed to read the balls being hurled at them and ended up messing up their strokes. To think that the Sri Lankans scored 600 runs on the same wicket, with four of their batsmen getting hundreds, is even more disturbing. There was no devil in the wicket and if at all it did, it only existed in the minds of the Indians. The Indian batting line-up was thought to be one of the best in the world, but the inept display we saw today is a cause for serious concern. If the Indians are hoping to make a come-back in this series, there was no indication of that whatsoever in the way the Indians meekly surrendered to the guile of the Sri Lankan spinners.
This is not to take the credit away from the Sri Lankan spinners. Muthiah has proved what made him to be the highest wicket taker in the world, and in Mendis, he has found an able partner to rock the Indian boat. That the duo managed to do this on a “not-very-spinner-friendly track” should be a disconcerting thought for the Indian camp and an indication on what to expect in the series. The onset of Mendis seems to have sharpened the lethality of Muthiah, and unless Indians do some serious soul-searching, the series might well turn out to be a one-sided affair. Sadly, the Indian spinners have turned out to be no match for their Sri Lankan counterparts. The Indian spinners should stop looking for spinner-friendly tracks every time they need to take wickets. It is time for Harbhajan to deliver on unhelpful tracks……If Muthiah can deliver with Mendis, why not Harbhajan with Kumble?