Jadeja’s sensational all-round excellence behind India’s innings victory

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Yesterday India won the first Test against Sri Lanka at Mohali by an innings in three days thanks mainly to Ravindra Jadeja’s brilliant all-round show. He scored a scintillating 175 not out embellished with 17 fours and three sixes and took nine wickets in the match.

He outscored Sri Lanka in the first innings and nearly did so in their second innings as the visitors were shot out for 174 and 178.

Winning the toss, India batted magnificently and declared at 8 for 574 (opener Hanuma Vihari 58 runs, Virat Kohli 45, Rishabh Pant 96 with 9 fours and four sixes, Jadeja 175 not out with 17 fours and three sixes and Ravichandran Ashwin 61). On reaching his century, Jadeja swung his bat around like a dashing debonair musketeer!

Pant & Jadeja added 104 runs for the 6th wicket and Jadeja & Ashwin 130 for the 7th. It was batting at its sparkling best.

Sri Lanka batted poorly and was dismissed for 174 and 178 to lose by an innings and 222 runs, Jadeja capturing 5 for 41 and 4 for 46. In the second innings, off-spinner Ashwin took 4 for 47.

This was a Test which Jadeja will always recall with pride as he created a record. His 175 is the highest score for a player taking nine wickets in a Test. It was the third time in a Mohali Test that he was made Person of the Match.

A delighted Jadeja said at the presentation, “This [Mohali] is my lucky ground. Whenever I come here, I always get positive vibes. I was looking to build partnership with wicket. To be honest I don’t know about stats [hundred and ten-for] but I am happy to do well with bat and ball. When you perform like this, you feel very confident. I haven’t done anything differently with my batting, just backing my instincts. I try to settle down and after that I play my shots. I try to keep it simple.”

An equally chirpy skipper Rohit Sharma added, “It was a good start [to my captaincy career]. I never thought it was going to be that kind of a Test that gets over in three days. It was a good batting wicket with help for spinners and seamers. Credit to our bowlers who bowled in tandem and applied pressure. We knew it is a fast outfield and runs would be easier to come if you dig in. We were just waiting for an odd one to bounce differently and their batters to make mistakes.

“Good signs for Indian cricket, a lot of performances and a landmark Test for Virat. We wanted to first win the game and such individual performances were heartening to see. Someone like Jadeja and Ashwin have played a lot of cricket in India, have taken lots of wickets but what if they are not there? So we wanted to give Jayant [Yadav] a chance. It was the team’s decision and Jadeja’s decision on declaration. Shows how selfless he is. It [the next Test] will be the second [third] pink-ball Test in India. It’s a different challenge in India than outside. Let’s see what kind of wicket we get.”

This was also a Test to remember for Virat Kohli and off-spinning all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin.

It was Kohli’s 100th Test and what wonderful figures! He has scored 8007 runs at an average of 50.35 hitting 27 centuries (highest score 254 not out against South Africa at Pune in 2019) and 28 fifties.

In this Test (his 85th) Ashwin took his 436th wicket going past Kapil Dev’s previous Indian record of 434 wickets in 131 Tests. Now only leg-spinner Anil Kumble (619 wickets in 132 Tests) is ahead of Ashwin among Indian bowlers.

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=17537