Ballance a thorn in India's flesh

Last Updated: Tue, Aug 05, 2014 16:12 hrs

One of the most prolific and most stylish batsmen in world cricket Mahela Jayawardene has called it quits from Test cricket at the end of the Sri Lankan season. 

Kumar Sangakkara and Jayawardene have been Sri Lanka's batting stalwarts for over a decade now and will rate as among the greatest to have played the game.

Unfortunately, coming from a small country, they have not got the credit that is due to them while players from other countries who have barely got one third the runs they have got will be raved about. Look at the situation with Muralitharan. 

Does he get even half the kudos that Shane Warne gets, even though he has almost 100 more wickets than him? While there is no question that Warne was indeed a great spinner, invariably, while discussing the two, there will not only be the usual questions about Murali's bowling action but also about the opposition against whom he has got wickets. 

If anything, a spinner getting wickets against England, South Africa and New Zealand is no big deal because these countries seldom play spin well, but that is an argument nobody likes because it would show that the batsmen from the old powers are terrible against spin. 

If today, Sangakkara is getting more credit for his performances, it is due to the Cowdrey lecture he gave where he asked questions of the Sri Lankan board. That went down well with the media in the old powers who have now started to recognise his superb feats. 

Despite Jayawardene’s big hundred, the Lankans were unable to close out the second Test, and thus, South Africa not only won a series in Lanka after a long time but also regained the number one ranking in Test cricket.

Hashim Amla has made a winning start to his captaincy career, and with a century to boot, has shown that the cares and responsibility are not affecting his batting. 

Rangana Herath almost spun the Lankans to a win, but the rains before the lunch session on the last day meant valuable time and overs were lost, and the South Africans held on to draw the match with two wickets in hand.

There were some fine performances in the England v India Test match too, with Gary Ballance scoring yet another hundred and then batting quickly in the second innings to give the momentum for a declaration. 

India will have to find a way to get the stubborn left hander out, else he will be a thorn in their flesh for the remaining two Test matches too. 

On a pitch that was good to bat on, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell also found their form and got runs. The underrated Moeen Ali bowled England to a win picking six wickets in the Indian second innings, as the Indians played for the turn which was seldom there.

The two Lankans, Jayawardene and Herath and England’s Gary Ballance, for their outstanding performances, share the accolade of the Ceat International cricketer of the week.

Professional Management Group

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