Murali and Mendis combination bowled the Indian team out inside two days on a pitch where the home team had piled up 600 runs for the loss of just 6 wickets. The Indians showed no application or patience on a pitch which was not that threatening. Murali and Mendis accounted for 19 of the 20 Indian wickets to fall where as the Indian spinners just managed 2 between them. I would agree to Manjrekar’s comments that Indians are no longer masters of spin which they used to be few years ago.
Mendis had a perfect debut as he captured 8 wickets in the match and Srilanka won by an innings and 239 runs. He was largely helped by the excellent perfromance by the great Murali, who got the ball rolling for the lankans in the first innings. The Indians put themselves under pressure as none of the top 5 converted the starts they got. Sehwag played a reckless hook shot to get himself caught at the square leg boundary to gift his wicket to the home team. It looked like the Indians were still in the Twenty20 mood while at the crease.
VVS laxman tried to save his team from further blushes by getting the score over 200 with the help of the tail in their first innings. Anil kumble will be very dissapointed with this performance as this has become some sort of a habit for the Indian team. The consistancy is something which the team lacks and both the captain and coach would be aware of the same. During the recent test series against the South Africans after matching blow for blow in the first test the team crumbled to a heavy defeat in the second test.
This will really be a hard loss to bounce back from. Srilanka are a very hard team to defeat at home and now with Murali with his tail up the Indians need to do some serious planning to tackle him. The Indians should take heart from the way they bounced back in Australia after a similar performance in Melbourne. Anil Kumble though would realise that things can only get better from here. The coach and captain should work with the players to come up with a plan to deal with the Srilankan spin twins.
Even though all the focus is on Murali and Mendis the Indian think tank should not forget Vaas who might have few surprises up his sleeve for the second test. All in all this is the moment of realization for Kumble’s men and we will know how much this defeat has hurt the team when they take the field at Galle.