A Coruscating Test Match at Kolkata

ESPN Commentary team thoughts and other End-of-Day COMMENTS

Phew. What an end to this Test. Lot of time lost to rain. This was effectively a three-day Test. Gosh, give me this day in and day out. More fun than watching your favourite batsmen stack up triple hundreds for fun. That exhibition of swing bowling from India and Lakmal is my moment of 2017. Hope you enjoyed our coverage. Until next time, it’s goodbye from me, Shashank Kishore, and Alagappan Muthu. Cheers. Be well, Eden Gardens. Over to you, Jamtha.


Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the Player of the Match for his match haul of eight wickets. “Frankly speaking, it was tougher to bowl in the second innings as the surface was a lot drier,” he says. “But the ball was reversing, so that helped. When I made my debut, I was totally dependent on swing. International circuit tells you what you need to improve on. I worked hard on my fitness and that is paying off. We believed we could win. Virat said ‘Imagine we’re in this situation overseas. If we get two-three wickets early, it won’t be easy for them.’

Virat Kohli: It was important to make something out of the game with whatever time we had. Conditions changed drastically over the five days. We had to show character, having been on the backfoot on day one and day two. Credit to Sri Lanka. The team showed a lot of character. We didn’t look at the batting collapse. We believed in our strengths. If you didn’t have intent on this wicket, it would’ve been difficult to survive. That was the key. If we got enough good balls in the right areas, it would’ve been tough. All in all, we’re proud of how we finished.

Kohli On Bhuvneshwar: his bowling has picked up pace, his ball is heavier than what it used to be. He grabs his chances every time he comes into the team. He’s a massive contender to start in every Test for India, he’ll be a vital part of our plans, especially overseas. As soon as we lost Wriddhi, me and Bhuvi started having fun. It was important to take our minds of the situation and the shots started coming off. Luckily they took the new ball. I decided, if we don’t show intent, there may not be much to offer. So yeah, that helped. (50 international hundreds) feels good. It hasn’t been a long journey yet. If I can step up and perform, that will give me more pleasure than thinking of the number of hundreds I have. That will remain the mindset till I play this game.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar appeals for the wicket of Dasun Shanaka, India v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, 4th Day, Kolkata, 19 November, 2017

Dinesh Chandimal: In these kind of conditions, toss was crucial. We fought hard and competed well. Till the last session, we fought well and played as a team. Unfortunately, the last 10-15 overs brought a lot of pressure but we played good cricket and competed well. Lakmal is unbelievable, especially over the last one or two years. He’s one who you can trust as a captain. Rangana scoring runs (laughs), he’s a fighter, unfortunately spinners couldn’t come into the game. We’ll have to learn how to battle, especially in the second innings. In UAE also, we didn’t bat well in the second innings against Pakistan. If we can do that, we can do a lot better.

Mahela Jayawardena tweets: Enjoyed @NiroshanDikka attitude and antics this afternoon. Good test match.. well played @imVkohli. Looking forward to the next one.

VVS Laxman: Inspite of rain washing out more than 180 overs,this was Test Match Cricket at it’s best. Bhuvi and Shami were simply outstanding. Was a delight to watch an exhibition of top class bowling.

For the first time ever in India, the home spinners didn’t pick a wicket in a Test. Amazing, isn’t it?

If you’re just joining us, you can dig into Nikhil Kalro’s bulletin

Mohammed Shami: We had to put in the extra effort because time was less. The public also enjoyed it, I think. We were sure we’d be successful if we hit the right areas. In the first two days, it was bad for us. This is my home ground, so I knew if the sun comes out, the wicket will ease out. Hard luck that the sun went down early today. As I’ve played, I’ve gained a lot of experience and confidence. I continue to learn a lot from the ex players, who have given me the support.

4.30pm Virat Kohli’s special century, his 50th in international cricket, brought the fire back for India after they slumped. There will be discussion and debates whether India had a case to declare earlier than they did, but there may not be much steam to that, because it was really the Kohli blitzkrieg after Saha’s dismissal that helped India set the game up in the first place.

4.28pm Nigel Llong and Joel Wilson converge to check the light reading. They’ve had enough. They’re going off, and the match is drawn. The light reading was set on the first day, so that is the benchmark they’ve to go by. Sri Lanka can breathe a sigh of relief. This has been a sensational display of fast bowling from India to bring life into a game that many assumed was dead when India declared with 30 overs and a bit to bowl potentially. The light you see on your TV screen is a lot brighter than it actually is. Artificial lights, for some reason, isn’t considered good enough for red-ball cricket. And so, that’s that. Sri Lanka, who were ahead in this Test for most parts of the five days, including at various stages today, will feel as if they’ve gotten out of jail. What a Test, what a finish. Three wickets, three deliveries. Sri Lanka will go to Nagpur 0-0 after they entertained prospects of a first Test win in India.


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