India eyes top Test spot

Team records 100th win trouncing Sri Lanka

India eyes top Test spot

 GLADIATORS: Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and teammates Rahul Dravid and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth celebtrate after wining the second cricket Test match against Sri Lanka at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur on Friday.  AFP It was in the fitness of things that the country’s newest Test entrant should effect the dismissal that helped India complete their 100th triumph by an innings and 144 runs against Sri Lanka here on Friday.

Pragyan Ojha is the sign of new India—young and fearless, and hailing from a cricketing outpost. Born in Orissa, the left-arm spinner moved to Hyderabad. New India is brimful with men from the outposts, none more illustrious than Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Jharkhand’s sole contribution to Indian cricket has been a veritable jewel in the crown.

From a rustic destroyer of bowling attacks, Dhoni has transformed into a mature batsman and an inspirational leader of men. He carries his flock of old hands and young turks with aplomb, a trait first displayed in recent times by Sourav Ganguly. India took 25 Tests to register their first victory and 147 for their first 25 wins. The last 25 have come in 63 Tests and less than six years, primarily because Dhoni inherited a legacy.

Under Ganguly, India learned to travel better. The mercurial Kolkatan instilled self-belief and confidence, hand-picked his future stars and brought the best out of them. Suddenly, overseas wins weren’t as rare as hen’s teeth anymore.

His successor took India a further step forward, quietly and without fuss. Without bringing the same in-your-face attitude of Ganguly, the tough-as-nails Rahul Dravid masterminded overseas series coups in the West Indies and England so that India conclusively shed their ‘lambs abroad’ tag.

Anil Kumble, briefly, and now Dhoni, who has led India to six wins and four draws in ten Tests at the helm, have kept the fire burning. Indians are now as feared when they play away as they are held in awe in their own comfort zone, a fact endorsed by their climb up the ICC Test ratings to number three. A victory in the final Test beginning in Mumbai on Wednesday will thrust India to the top spot in the Test ratings for the first time. That’s no more than a team that has gone undefeated in its last 11 Tests, and won its last three series, deserves.

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