Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has said Sri Lanka will find it tough to challenge Virat Kohli & Co. even in their own conditions and backyard.
The island nation, which has endured a terrible time this year, suffered yet another setback on Saturday with India inflicting the biggest defeat on their soil by a whopping margin of 304 runs in the first Test in Galle to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
On a flat deck which had very little to offer to the bowlers, India’s batsmen piled up 600 and 240 for three in both the innings before the bowlers showed the quality by restricting Sri Lanka to 291 and 245, as India registered its biggest away win in terms of runs. And while India is only getting stronger after every passing day, Sri Lanka is headed in the opposite direction with their miseries only piling up after every match. The year has been forgettable for them, as they were whitewashed in Tests by South Africa, lost a Test to Bangladesh at home and somehow managed to defeat Zimbabwe after being on the backfoot for the most part of the match.
“India are perfectly balanced with so much firepower in their batting, bowling and fielding. Sri Lanka on the other hand, have a lot to worry about,” Sourav Ganguly told India Today.
“The last two years they (Team India) have been wonderful, especially away from home. Under Anil, they won everything in the West Indies and then came the home season. I feel India won’t be challenged in these conditions. Kohli is absolutely right when he said in the post match ceremony that ‘they have been clinical in their performance’,” he added.
The Indian team are yet to lose a series under Kohli since the 2-1 series win against Sri Lanka in 2015. Since then, they have defeated South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh, Australia and are looking set to extend their winning run.
Since December 2014, India is the most successful Test side since December 2014 with 18 wins in 28 matches. However, Ganguly feels that the team is yet to be tested in Test cricket and that can only happen once they travel to places like South Africa, England and Australia.
“Virat hasn’t been tested yet. Sri Lanka is probably not the strongest Test side at the moment. For me, the fans as well as for Virat Kohli himself, the yardstick will be how well his side performs in South Africa, Australia and England.
Kohli, meanwhile, returned to form with a blistering unbeaten 103 in the second innings. The 28-year-old had a terrible series against Australia where he had managed just 46 runs in Tests. In the first innings of the Galle Test also he failed to fire, getting out for only three.
Talking about Kohli’s return to form, Ganguly said,
“I don’t consider it a lean patch as he only struggled in one series. If you look at the Champions Trophy and the one-day series in West Indies, he has been in good touch.”
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