Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mendis Rocked India's Boat!

I have raved about him before and I am going to do it again.

Mendis was the star at Colombo.

Sure it was Muralitharan who picked up 11-110 and handed India their 3rd largest defeat ever, but would Murali have been able to do it without Mendis?

No, probably not.

This was Murali's 16th test match against India and his match figures of 11-110 is his best effort against them.

Murali has taken 10 wickets in a match against India only once before this and that was at the same ground 7 years ago.

India faced a similar defeat back then as Murali picked up 8-87 and 3-109.

The difference between then and now is that in 2001 Murali bowled as many as 81 overs and there was no Sachin, no Sehwag, no Laxman, no Gambhir in that match.

In the match that just ended, Murali bowled only 42 overs, half of what he had bowled in 2001 for the same number of wickets.

Futhermore, Murali has 21 hauls of 10 wickets in a match, yet only thrice has he picked those wickets up in lesser overs than the 42 he bowled in this match.

Those 3 times were against West Indies (25.3), England (37.2), and Bangladesh (35.5) - neither of whom is an India when it comes to playing spin.

My point?

It was Mendis who created the pressure and it was Murali who benefited the most.

With a Mendis sharing the burden at the other end, Murali was a more potent force.

Mendis had match figures of 8-132, which is remarkable for a spinner making his debut against India - Ask Shane Warne!

Mendis had ripped apart India in the Asia Cup final but at that time we all thought that Yuvraj, Sharma, Raina, and the rest of the Indian brat back weren't the players of spin that Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, and Laxman were.

Before this series began there was a lot of hype surrounding Mendis and how he would fare against India in test matches.

Dhoni gave statements that the Indian batsmen would have figured Mendis out before the test series began.

Dravid was right when he said that it was wrong to only focus on Mendis as Murali and Vaas presented a far greater threat but then he probably didn't focus at all as he fell to him in both innings.

What a first test wicket as well - that of Rahul Dravid.

Mendis had the Indian batsmen, 'the best players of spin in the world', in all sorts of trouble in both innings.

The pressure, which used to be applied only from Murali's end, was now there from both ends.

Thus, even though it was Murali ripping through India, it was Mendis who was helping Murali do that.

Mendis had a brilliant debut and that too against one of the top sides. The lesser opposition might already be getting weak in the knees.

Make your pitch on this post...

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11 Pitched:

  1. Gaurav Sethi said...

    that link from 7 years' back puts a lot into perspective:
    Zaheer and Bhajji are just as effective now as they were then. They were selected to slog.

    Ind played over 200 overs then, and nearly less than half now.

    Openers batted for over 550 balls then, more than three times what they did now.

    There was no Mendis then, just part time spin back up.

  2. Q said...

    That is exactly why I gave that link NC.

  3. Trideep said...

    This is the first match of the series. India has a habit of not doing well in the initial matches. I feel the Indian fab 4 will definitely start reading Mendis soon and this wud of course reduce the effect of Murali too..

  4. Anonymous said...

    Agreed, Q, with most of what you say. The Ms feed off each other. But I do agree with trideep in that it is too early to judge the Indian Fab4. Fear and not-reading the spinner caused this disaster. Let's wait and watch.

  5. straight point said...

    india never does well when they are tagged the favorites...this is the biggest worry for me...and for a team who is looking to be stable no.2 if not numero uno...

    another aspects that worries me is our bowling and specially spin bowling in subcontinent wickets...

    kumble and bhajji are clearly struggling and they never look like getting wicket...its funny that ppl still calls bhajji the turbunator...

    the problem with last match was that india cant take even distant +ve into next match...

  6. Gaurav Sethi said...

    yeah sp, no +ves. just stress. which shows. and the lankans see it. need another sydney to regroup from here. the test team are made of many motley groups.

  7. Q said...

    Tri & VM - I agree.. India will definitely bounce back. But I alo hve high hopes of Mendis.. I think it will be some time before batsmen start feeling comfortable and confident against him.

  8. Q said...

    SP - the bowling has always been a worry on subcontinental pitches. The fast bowlers look like military medium and outside India Kumble and Bhajji look like medium pacers..

    But thats a worry that India has had for a long long time. The batting was always the strong point and that what failed them in this match.

    Honestly after SL batted into the 3rd day and scored 600-6 I thought the match would have been a draw. I was shocked when I woke up around 230pm on Saturday afternoon and swtiched the tele on to see Bhajji being bowled by Mendis.. I hadn't followed the previous day and though India's 1st innings had ended but then I realised, no it was match over!


  9. Q said...

    NC - The lankans are also feeling sorry for the Indians. Atleast Sanga is...

  10. Anonymous said...

    superb effort... that over with that ball that got out laxman was incredible.

  11. Q said...

    Totally scorps..

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