SS Das
SS Das   SS Das   SS Das

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.

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Maiden Test century...[Scorecard | Match Reports | Ball-by-Ball]

1. Against which team did Anil Kumble make his one-day debut?
Sri Lanka

2. On which ground did Kumble take 10 wickets in a Test innings?
MA Chinnaswamy Stadium
Barabati Stadium
Feroz Shah Kotla
Eden Gardens

3. Among the bicycles listed below, pick the one that is meant both for men and women
BSA Diana
HERCULES Commander
BSA Ventura
BSA Photon

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4. Do you own a bicycle ?

5. If Yes, which brand of bicycle you own ?

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