In what has got to be one of the most exciting of finishes to a Test match, Pakistan scored the winning runs in Sharjah’s dying sunlight to level the series. It was an incredible batting display, for to get over 300 runs in the fourth innings of the match is never easy. Pakistan did it in style too, and thus kept their unbeaten record at their adopted home ground.
There will of course be plenty of debate about the Lankan tactics, but in doing so, what will be forgotten is their batting in the second innings which is what actually opened the door ever so slightly for the Pakistanis who then pushed it wide open and rammed home what looked like an unlikely win.
Lanka’s batting has been so dependent on Sangakkara and Jayawardene, that when these two fail there is usually not much else. But in this series, we have seen skipper Angelo Mathews come on as a Test class batsman and Silva too has been impressive. Probably Sangakkara’s inability to get the big hundreds is the reason, for when he gets them, he not only sets up the Lankan innings but also gives his bowlers the score that gives them a sense of comfort. Well done Pakistan!
India is struggling at the moment to come to terms with themselves in New Zealand. The pitches for the first two games have been top class for batting with good even bounce and not pacy as the ones in South Africa. The openers have not been able to get going, as the New Zealand bowlers, though not as quick as Steyn and Morkel, have bowled a nice tight line and hardly given the batsmen any room to swing their bats.
Dhawan has to give himself some time out in the middle, for both he and Sharma can catch up after a slow start, but by trying to get after the bowlers early they are getting themselves out. If they follow the example of Virat Kohli, they will see how he plays himself in and then goes for his shots. He is in the best batting form of his life and is a delight to watch.
India also are not helping themselves by going in with only five batsmen. The five bowlers theory is not working, so they may as well try out an all-rounder who may give a few more runs than a regular bowler but at least will be handy with the bat and give the batting some depth. We shall see in the third game if India have managed to turn it around.
Virat Kohli, for his magnificent century and another top class half century, is the CEAT International cricketer of the week.
Professional Management Group