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How Team India fared in Sri Lanka

By Harish Kotian
August 14, 2017 20:22 IST

Dhawan, Pujara, Ashwin, Jadeja shone, but Pandya is the standout performer in the Sri Lanka series for Rediff.com's Harish Kotian.

Team India

World No 1 India showed their prowess as they hammered Sri Lanka by an innings and 171 runs in the third and final Test to record a historic 3-0 clean sweep, in Pallekele, on Monday, August 14.

This was India's eighth series win a row, a run which incidentally began in Sri Lanka two years ago when India triumphed 2-1 in 2015.

The 2017 series saw the inexperienced Sri Lankans no match for Virat Kohli and his boys.

Shikhar Dhawan, who had to cancel his holiday and join the squad at the last minute, made most of the opportunities, with a couple of centuries.

And then there was India's Mr Consistent -- the ever dependenable Cheteshwar Pujara who pocketed another couple of hundreds.

While Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane helped themselves to a century each, Hardik Pandya emerged as India's big gain from the series.

The all-rounder scored runs, including his maiden ton in first class cricket, and picked wickets to showcase his potential.

Kuldeep Yadav highlighted the rich depth India has when it comes to spin.

Rediff.com's Harish Kotian rates the Indian performances in Sri Lanka:

Virat Kohli (8/10)



Kohli created history as the first Indian captain ever to lead his team to an overseas series whitewash.

He will never have it so easy as a skipper again, what with the inexperienced Sri Lankan team struggling with both bat and ball.

Kohli winning all three tosses also proved beneficial not that it would have made a difference with the gulf so large between the two sides.

The captain will be disappointed not to have ended the series with more runs against such a pedestrian bowling attack.

He started the series with an unbeaten century (103) in the first Test, but then failed to cross the fifty run mark in the next two games.

Shikhar Dhawan (9/10)

Shikhar Dhawan

Handed a lifeline because of Murali Vijay's injury, Dhawan made most of the opportunity, scoring two centuries in the series.

He made a blazing start with a smashing 190 from 168 balls, which set the tone for the series.

Dhawan then took the Sri Lankans apart in the Kandy Test, stroking a fluent 119.

He finished the highest run-getter in the series with 358 runs at an average of 85 coupled with an amazing strike rate of 104.

He was rightly named Player of the Series.

K L Rahul (8/10)

KL Rahul

Rahul missed the first Test because of injury. Once he returned to the team at the expense of Abhinav Mukund, the Karnataka batsman continued his good run with the bat.

He hit successive fifties in the last two Tests -- 57 and 85 -- to equal the world record run of seven half-centuries in a row.

What will leave him and the team management disappointed is his failure to convert the 50s into 100s.

Cheteshwar Pujara (9/10)

Cheteshwar Pujara

Pujara's amazing run with the bat continues.

After a successful showing in the home season, Pujara started the series with a solid 153 in the Galle Test, putting on 253 runs for the second wicket with Dhawan.

In the Colombo Test, he hit 133 and added 217 runs for the fourth wicket with Ajinkya Rahane to bat Sri Lanka out of the contest.

He was the second highest run-getter in the series with 309 runs at an average of 77.

Ajinkya Rahane (7/10)

Ajinkya Rahane

He started with 57 in the Galle game followed by a cracking 132 in the Clombo Test.

He tallied 229 runs in the series at an average of 76.

Hardik Pandya (8/10)

Hardik Pandya

Touted as a limited overs specialist, Pandya smashed a 49 ball half-century in his first innings in Test cricket, then picked up a wicket.

He scored a run-a-ball 20 in the next game and picked up 2/31 in the second innings.

Pandya stole the show in the Kandy Test, smashing a brilliant 108 from 96 balls to notch up his maiden Test century in grand style. It was also his first century in first class cricket.

The medium pacer could prove very useful player in seamer-friendly conditions in Australia, South Africa and England.

Abhinav Mukund (7/10)

Abhinav Mukund

Mukund must consider himself unlucky to miss out despite a good innings of 81 in the second innings of the first Test.

Originally picked ahead of Dhawan, Mukund lost out after Rahul, who missed the first Test, was preferred for the next two games.

Mukund, 27, had to wait a long time for this opportunity.

After a below par debut in 2011, he had to wait six years before he got the call up for a Test against Australia in March following Vijay's injury.

With Dhawan's fine showing in Sri Lanka, Mukund could again be relegated to the sidelines when his Tamil Nadu team-mate Vijay returns.

Ravichandran Ashwin (9/10)

Ravichandran Ashwin

Ashwin had another profitable series, claiming 17 wickets at an average of 25, including a five wicket haul in the Colombo game.

Ashwin, who has become a permanent fixture at No 6 in the Indian line-up, contributed 47, 54 and 31 in the three innings he played.

Ravindra Jadeja (8/10)

Ravindra Jadeja

Barring his suspension for the third Test, Jadeja had another perfect series with bat and ball.

The World No 1 all-rounder and bowler picked up 13 wickets in two Tests, scoring 85 runs, including an unbeaten 70 in the second game despite batting at No 9.

It will be interesting to see who Kohli prefers when India travel abroad and include just one spinner in the playing eleven.

Wriddhiman Saha (7/10)

Wriddhiman Saha

Saha enhanced his reputation with some superb glovework during the series.

He took eight catches and had two stumpings, hitting 67 in the second Test.

Kohli hails Saha as the best wicket-keeper in Test cricket.

Mohammed Shami (8/10)

Mohammed Shami

Shami took five wickets in the first two Tests, then claimed five wickets in the third Test to finish with 10 scalps in the series.

In the Kandy Test, on a wicket not offering much to the pace bowlers, he came up with brilliant spells in both innings.

Clearly, a class act.

Umesh Yadav (7/10)

Umesh Yadav

India's most consistent fast bowler in the last year or so, Umesh had a quiet series.

He took just six wickets at an average of 35.

After bowling his heart out in the last 12 months across all formats, Umesh gets a well deserved break in the limited overs series in Sri Lanka.

Kuldeep Yadav (7/10)

Kuldeep Yadav

The young Chinaman spinner got an opportunity courtesy Jadeja's suspension for the third Test.

Playing just his second Test, he impressed everyone with a four wicket haul in the first innings. All the Sri Lankan batsmen struggled to read his variations.

Kuldeep finished with five wickets, but with the world's top two Test bowlers -- Ashwin and Jadeja -- in the team, he will have to wait his turn.

Photographs: Reuters

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com
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