India on top of the world
India became the number one Test team on Sunday after routing Sri
Lanka by an innings and 24 runs in the third and final cricket Test in
Mumbai to clinch the series 2-0. Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan took 5-72 as
Sri Lanka, trailing by 333 runs in the first innings, were shot out for
309 in their second knock 35 minutes into the fifth day’s play at the
The 2-0 scoreline lifted India to the top of the official Test
rankings with 124 rating points, two more than previous leaders South
Sri Lanka, who had also lost the second Test by an innings and 144
runs, slipped from second place to fourth with 115 points, one behind
About 10,000 home fans cheered lustily as the Indian players and the
support staff, led by the team’s South African coach Gary Kirsten,
hugged each other after the fall of the last wicket.
Senior pro Sachin Tendulkar, the world’s leading batsman in Test and
one-day cricket, was esctatic when he spoke to television commentators
after the match.
“It is fantastic to be the number one Test team,” said Tendulkar, 36,
who completed 20 years in international cricket at the start of this
“I have been waiting a long time to get to this position. Not just
me, but the entire country waited for it.
“The players have worked very hard over the last 18 months to get
there and the coach has handled the team superbly.”
Since November 2007, India have won home series against Pakistan,
Australia, England and Sri Lanka, won an away series in New Zealand, and
drawn at home against South Africa. “The real tough job starts now to
maintain this performance,” said Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“When we are pushed against the wall, we come out with special
performances. It was a terrific team effort in the entire series. The
batsmen got big scores, the bowlers bowled well in difficult conditions
and our fielding was good.”
“The important thing is to maintain this consistency in future.”
India needed just 7.4 overs to wrap up Sri Lanka’s second innings after
they had resumed at Saturday’s total of 274-6.
Sri Lanka’s resistance ended with the day’s third delivery when
captain Kumar Sangakkara was caught behind off Zaheer for 137.
Sangakkara, who was on 133 overnight, smashed the second ball to the
point fence but failed to take his bat away in time as the next delivery
moved away after pitching.
Two overs later, Rangana Herath miscued a pull off Zaheer to
mid-wicket where Pragyan Ojha dived in front to take a low catch and
reduce Sri Lanka to 282-8. Muttiah Muralitharan and Nuwan Kulasekara hit
a flurry of boundaries to lift Sri Lanka past the 300-run mark, but
Zaheer was not to be denied his fifth wicket. The seamer lifted a ball
outside Kulasekara’s off-stump and the batsman edged a waist-high catch
to Venkatsai Laxman at second slip after making 19.
“India outperformed us in all departments of the game in the last two
Tests,” Sangakkara admitted.
Sri Lanka 1st innings: 393
India 1st innings: 726-9 decl
SRI LANKA 2ND - INNINGS
T. Paranavitana lbw b Sreesanth 54
T. Dilshan lbw b Harbhajan 16
K. Sangakkara c Dhoni b Zaheer 137
M. Jayawardene c Dhoni b Zaheer 12
T. Samaraweera c Laxman b Zaheer 0
A. Mathews c Dhoni b Ojha 5
P. Jayawardene lbw b Ojha 32
N. Kulasekara c Laxman b Zaheer 19
R. Herath c Ojha b Zaheer 3
M. Muralitharan c Dhoni b Harbhajan 14
C. Welegedara not out 0
EXTRAS:(B-12, LB-1, NB-3, W-1) 17
TOTAL(all out, 100.4 overs) 309
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-29 (Dilshan), 2-119 (Paranavitana), 3-135 (M. Jayawardene),
4-137 (Samaraweera), 5-144 (Mathews), 6-208 (P. Jayawardene), 7-278 (Sangakkara), 8-282 (Herath),
9-307 (Kulasekara), 10-309 (Muralitharan).
BOWLING: Harbhajan 34.4-5-80-2, Ojha 23-4-84-2, Zaheer 21-5-72-5 (nb1), Sreesanth 13-4-36-1 (nb2, w1), Sehwag 9-2-24-0.