It's not since Sunil Manohar Gavaskar that someone has occupied the
opening position with such aplomb. The pocket-sized dynamo from Orissa,
Shiv Sunder Das,
has, in his own unassuming way piled on the runs against
different opposition and emerged as India's premier Test opener. Throughout
the three-Test series against Sri Lanka, Das provided India with solid
starts. What was a revelation however was the fact that Das regularly
outscored his partner, the left-handed Sadagoppan Ramesh in the early over!
With the middle order struggling to produce runs, there was added pressure
on Das to come good. Unbothered by this, Das got into stride quickly and
blunted the Sri Lankan fast bowlers. In the final Test, Das was resolute to
go after not just the fast bowling but the slow men too. And not just any
slow bowlers the king of them all, Muttiah Muralitharan. The fact that Das
went after Muralitharan from the very first ball he bowled set the tempo
for their exchanges in the course of the game. Have a look at the second
and third balls Murali bowled in the match:
13.2 Muralitharan to Das, FOUR, a bit more air and speared into the pads,
Das comes down the track and drives back past the bowler to the long on
fence That's the 50 partnership for India.
13.3 Muralitharan to Das, FOUR, a bit slower and outside the off, Das sees
it early and heaves the ball through midwicket, the ball speeds to the fence.
The fact that Das took the attack to Muralitharan meant that he was on
solid footing to reach his first half century of the game. Putting together
an opening partnership of almost a hundred (97 to be exact) Das got India
off on the front foot. He was finally bowled by Murali for 59 (111 balls,
10 fours) when he tried to accelerate the rate of scoring. Das' 59 ended up
being the top score of an Indian innings of 234.
Having allowed Sri Lanka to pile on a massive 610/6 declared, India were
well and truly out of the game. With virtually no chance of a victory,
their only hope was to play for a draw. In these circumstances a steady
beginning was vital. Led by Shiv Sunder Das, India managed a century stand
for the first wicket. Occurring outside the subcontinent after a spell of
several years, the partnership gave India a sliver of hope.
Alas, it was not to be. Once more, Muralitharan dismissed Das, with the
Indian score on 107. Das, with 68 ended up being at the top of the Indian
heap once more. Playing 162 balls and striking 11 of them to the fence, Das
had shown his colleagues that it was possible to bat comfortably. With no
one offering much resolve India were beaten by an innings and 77 runs.
Despite the loss, Das stands tall among his teammates and is deservedly the
Hercules player of the fortnight.
Modesty is the virtue of a true champion...[More]
Seeks Sunil Gavaskar's help... [More]
Always willing to learn to improve...[More]
Executive post in SAIL... [More]
Audio Interview ...[More]
A long term prospect for India... says WV Raman [More]
The emergence of Shiv Sunder Das was the most positive sign for India... says EAS Prasanna [More]
Maiden Test century...[Scorecard | Match Reports | Ball-by-Ball]