India’s fresh batting guns, Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav will get another chance to boom and secure a series win against Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium in the second ODI on Tuesday.
Powered by fireworks from the bat of Shaw (43 off 22 balls) and Kishan (59 off 42 balls), and shepherded by skipper Shikhar Dhawan, India chased down the 262-run target by the 37th over itself, racing away to a seven-wicket win in the opening ODI on Sunday night. Even though the Sri Lankan bowling attack wasn’t great, both Shaw and Kishan, who was on debut, stood out for their fearless approach, going for their shots from ball one.
Interestingly, both Shaw and Kishan aren’t guaranteed their place in the India XI for the T20 World Cup in October-November in the UAE, and are only playing in Sri Lanka because Virat Kohli & Co are in England awaiting a Test series against the hosts.
While their sensational performance reflects India’s solid bench strength in white-ball cricket at the moment, it has slowly stirred up a new debate too. The way this duo took the attack to the opposition was in keeping with the demands of modern-day limited overs cricket – a template which England have adopted since their failure in the 2015 World Cup. Flaunting a refreshing, aggressive approach towards batting in white-ball cricket, both will certainly put pressure on the senior batsmen in the side if they continue to sizzle in Sri Lanka.
Another pleasant sight for India was the return to the Indian team of ‘Kulcha’ – the leg-spin pair of Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. The duo took four wickets between themselves, and clearly enjoyed bowling in tandem again, something that they did for the first time since the World Cup game against England at Edgbaston in 2019.
“I’m very happy that we both got to play together after quite some time. I think we’re comfortable with each other, and back each other. Whenever it is needed on the field, I tell him something or he tells me things. Our bonding is good. Maybe because we’re so comfortable with each other, it shows on the ground. Our performance was quite good, and the way we did well, playing together after so long, was good for the team,” Kuldeep said.
Asked if he thought his white-ball career was over that night, Kuldeep replied it would “be nicer if people talk about the times when I took wickets too.” “Sometimes, you get hit for runs, but other times you get wickets too,” he added.