It is indeed sad that the failure of the middle order has become a subject of finger-pointing exercise; post the defeat of the Indian team against the Sri Lankans in the final test. One cannot forget the fact that cricket is a team game and the failure of a team to win a match cannot and should not be attributed to the failure or success of a couple of individuals.
The performance of the Indian middle-order, especially that of the big four left much to be desired, would be stating the obvious. But to put the blame for the defeat on these men alone would be too simplistic. Cricket is a team game and the team as a whole has to own up responsibility.
What is alarming is the fact that none of these India-Sri Lanka tests stretched beyond the third or fourth day. This definitely isn’t a good sign for both the teams. The Indian camp has reason to be more worried for being at the wrong end in the final test.
One might be tempted to attribute this to the failure of the Indian middle-order. The Indian middle-order, made up of highly experienced and classy individuals who have lorded over some of the best spinners in the world, were ironically done-in by a pair of spinners from within the sub-continent. No doubt, these players are in their twilight years of cricket and time is perhaps ripe to find and groom replacements for some of these great men, but it isn’t going to be easy. We should learn to be patient and be prepared to face some initial set-backs for long-term gains. Fortunately, we have enough talent readily available but the enormous experience and sheer greatness of these men presently donning the Indian middle-order would be hard to replace.
The Indian bowling also needs some revamp. The spinners have been no match for the Sri Lankans and haven’t been consistent. Overall, the Indian bowling remains another weak-link in the side and will need some dressing up.
The Sri Lankans can be proud of beating the Indians in their own game. Never before in the history of cricket have spinners been able to dominate the Indians, as the duo of Murali and Mendis did in this series. Mendis was easily the find of the series and I am sure we are going to hear a lot more about him in the coming years. The Indians haven’t still figured him out completely, notwithstanding claims to the contrary from the Indian camp. His eight wicket haul in the final test bears this out. However, I strongly believe Murali’s presence was largely responsible for his phenomenal success. Fortunately for Mendis, Murali has some more years of cricket left in him. Together, the duo can rock some of the best teams in the world. It would be interesting to see how the Aussies play this duo!