India cannot afford to repeat Ahmedabad follies in Kanpur

India cannot afford to repeat Ahmedabad follies in Kanpur

India cannot afford to repeat Ahmedabad follies in Kanpur

cricketer Yuvraj Singh excercises during a practice session ahead of the second test match between India and Sri Lanka in Kanpur on Sunday. PTI

The famed Indian batting line-up both embarrassed and redeemed itself in the Ahmedabad shirtfront, where it collapsed like a house of cards in the first innings and then rose from its ruins in the second to salvage a draw from the jaws of a seemingly imminent defeat.

But to expect such resurgence everyday would be to invite trouble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men would do well to learn the lessons from their Ahmedabad escapade and mend their way.

On a placid track where nearly 1600 runs were scored, including seven centuries -- a subcontinental record -- and just 21 wickets fell over five days, nothing could gloss over the Indian top order's inconsistency.
The Indian camp has called in wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh karthik as cover for captain Dhoni who is nursing a minor finger injury.
The Indian stumper hurt his finger in the Ahmedabad Test but the team management said it was not a serious injury and the Indian captain was likely to take the field on the morrow. The fact that Dhoni batted and bowled in yesterday's practice session was proof that the injury was not serious.

The underlying story of India's first innings display in Ahmedabad was their incapability to see through the morning session, when the ball tended to move a bit.
Inside eight overs after Dhoni had opted to bat first, India lost its top four batsmen for 32 measly runs and Sri Lanka's joy knew no bound to see the backs of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.
And the early morning blues came to haunt India again on day two. After the broad blades of Rahul Dravid and Dhoni had weathered the storm, the hosts, resuming at 385 for six, folded inside another 15 overs.
Already the pitch curator here has advised the batsmen to exercise some caution, at least in the first two days' morning sessions before they embrace extravagance.
The hosts, however, can take heart from the fact that they have a judicious blend of swashbucklers and sheet-anchors, which makes it so difficult for the opponents to tame them.
Rahul Dravid has always been the bulwark of the Indian line-up and now Gautam Gambhir has also proved that his is not merely a one-dimensional game and he just cannot be dismissed as just another mindless slogger.
The left-hander has proved that he has the temperament also and if situation merits, he can stay rooted, frustrating the rivals with his impregnable defence.
Incidentally, it's now Sehwag who finds his form under scrutiny. Licensed to thrill, the Delhi dasher is one of those rare players whose strength is his weakness.

Other than that, Dhoni has no major worry with the batting lineup. Dravid at number three is a formidable fortification that can test the patience of the rival bowlers and provide the perfect platform for a VVS Laxman to display his mastery or a Yuvraj Singh to strut his stuff.
In the bowling department, however, Dhoni will have some worry as beside Zaheer Khan and sporadically Ishant Sharma, none of the Indian bowlers could impress in Ahmedabad, let alone sending shivers down their opponent's spine.
Most unimpressive has been the spin attack and Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra just cannot hide behind the convenient truth that the dead-as-dodo Ahmedabad track was unresponsive to the slow bowlers to say the least.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, would go into the match believing they had India on the mat in Kanpur but a dull track, coupled with some unimaginative captaincy by the defensive Kumar Sangakkara, robbed them their chance to snap the 14-match winless streak on Indian soil.
Their batting line-up looks in apple-pie order where the top and middle order batsmen have fired in unison. Tillakaratne Dilshan is just too good and innovative to be curbed and his opening partner Tharanga Paranavitana has no issues playing the second fiddle as long as it suits the team.
Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera are also in good nick while Mahela Jayawardene's penchant for really big knocks is something India would do well to keep in mind.

It is, however, in the bowling unit that the Lankans seem to enjoy an edge over the hosts. Chanaka Welegedera hasproved how dangerous he can be even on lifeless tracks and Dammika Prasad, provided he overcomes a hamstring injury, would also be quite a handful for the Indians.
And then the Lankans have arguably the best spinner of the world in their ranks and Muttiah Muralitharan may have a low key outing in Ahmedabad but he can't lie low for long.
Rengana Herath has also been among the wickets even though the Lankans may prefer mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis over Herath, considering how Mendis had scarred the Indian psyche with his six-wicket haul in the Asia Cup final in Pakistan last year.
Teams (From):
India: MS Dhoni (c), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, S Badrinath, Pragyan Ojha, S Sreesanth and Murali Vijay.
Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (c), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Tharanga Paranavitana, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Prasanna Jayawardene, Dilhara Fernando, Rangana Herath, Thilina Kandamby, Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dammika Prasad, Kaushal Silva and Chanaka Welegedara.
Hours of play: 9.30 to 11.30 am, 12.10 to 2.10 pm, 2.30 to 4.30 pm.