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A clinical show of dominance by India

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Number_one_Best_Greatest_cricketFor the second time in 3 years, India got the better of Sri Lanka in their own backyard. However, unlike the last time, where the Sri Lankans provided some fight and played competitive cricket, they were meek and resigned this time around. Facing a humiliating whitewash at the hands of a superior and probably invincible Indian team, even skipper Dinesh Chandimal couldn't shy away from describing this as his worst series ever. This was almost the same Sri Lankan side that created history by whitewashing Australia at home last year. From a viewer's perspective, it was disheartening to see the same Lankan side falter so badly.

The real essence of a team is a strong and able leader who can take bold decisions in the field and count upon his teammates to accomplish the goal. Skipper Virat Kohli has shown great character when it comes to guiding the team and providing motivation to the youngsters. A captain is always incomplete without his team and the way players like Dhawan, Pujara, the ever reliable duo of Ashwin-Jadeja and the others applied themselves in the field was laudable. Different players stepped up to contribute for the team's cause at different stages. It doesn't come as a surprise that India have been unbeaten in a Test series for the last two years.

 

Shikhar Dhawan has made a huge difference and showcased his skills as an opener in this series. After enjoying a purple patch in the recently concluded Champions Trophy, where he had scored the most runs, he proved his credentials in the white kit as well. With a splendid batting average of 89.50, Dhawan scored two centuries as he ended up being the top run scorer with 358 runs to his name. Moreover, it was the pace at which he scored the runs that restored the faith in him. 

 

Abhinav Mukund got to play the first game as a replacement opener and made a mark with his first half century in 6 years. KL Rahul continued to impress with half centuries in consecutive games, again falling short of a potential hundred. 

'Work hard in silence, let your success make the noise' is a saying that goes well with Cheteshwar Pujara. Probably India's best bet when it comes to the Test arena, Pujara continued to prosper with the bat, displaying his grittiness with two back to back centuries in consecutive Tests. His run tally of 309 runs at a staggering average of 77.25 is clear proof of his calibre and the stature he holds in the Indian batting lineup.

Kohli and Rahane, regarded as the backbone of the middle order, also contributed significantly to India's series win. Kohli displayed his demeanour in the first match where he scored his 17th Test century. His wonderful drives kept the viewers delighted throughout his innings. The aptitude of Rahane was on display in the second match as he slammed his ninth Test century in what was a clinical batting performance. 

If the batting lineup set the bar high for India, the bowling lineup raised it. The spinners deserve special mention. Ravichandran Ashwin continued his golden run with the ball as he grabbed 17 wickets throughout the series. His partner in crime, Jadeja, had the scurrying pace in his arm to make life difficult for the Sri Lankan batsmen. He took 13 wickets in the series and claimed the Man of the Match Award in the second Test for a splendid all round performance where he dazzled with both bat and ball. As he was banned for the third Test, his replacement, Kuldeep Yadav, successfully managed to apply the brakes to the Lankan innings on a couple of occasions. He complemented Ashwin well as they bowled in tandem to contain the hosts.

 

The pacers, Shami and Yadav, had their moments in the series and rose to the occasion when the team counted on them. Shami in particular had a pretty decent series as he was the highest wicket taker among the fast bowlers. Saha also chipped in with some noteworthy contributions with the bat alongside some marvelous keeping behind the stumps.

 

Last but not the least, the biggest positive to come out of the series for India was the performance of all-rounder Hardik Pandya. As a batsman, he did an outstanding job scoring quick runs in the middle. His first Test century came at a crucial hour when India were struggling to put even 350 on the board. As a bowler, he chipped in time and again, though he wasn't required to do much. 

The intent and determination shown by the Indian players to stage complete domination was worth applauding. The way they decimated Sri Lanka proved what a threat this Indian side is in the cricketing world at the moment. The budding crop of youngsters along with the experience of Kohli and co. has made India more formidable than ever.
India haven't lost a single Test series since Kohli took over the captaincy full-time from Dhoni. Alongside proving their valour at home, India has also managed to win in Sri Lanka and West Indies. However, the real challenge would probably be when India play in South Africa later this year. That series is something Kohli's men will no doubt be looking forward to. Till date, India has never won a Test series in South Africa. With the kind of dominance shown recently, this might well be India's best bet to create history. 

 

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