By Soham Sarkhel and Jatin Thakkar
Scorecard links: 1st ODI, 2nd ODI, 3rd ODI, 4th ODI, 5th ODI
India’s run of not losing a bilateral series in Sri Lanka since 1997 continued successfully as they managed to see off a spirited Lankan challenge to clinch the 5 match ODI series 4-1. The Sri Lankans had their moments in the series but failed to capitalise on them and went on to lose their 6th consecutive ODI series against India.
Here is an overview of the series through the Impact Index lens.
Interestingly, there are 4 players above Virat Kohli on this list with a higher overall impact in the series. However, amongst the players who competed in all the five matches of the series Kohli had the highest impact as a single-skilled player (Malinga edges out only because of his Batting IMPACT). Virat Kohli had an impact on all the batting parameters in the series and topped the Pressure and the Chasing IMPACT charts for India—something in which he has been brilliant throughout his career. His performance in the 4th ODI where he scored an unbeaten 128 off 119 balls to help India chase 256 after they had collapsed at one point of time to 109-4 was the highest Batting IMPACT performance of the series and also helped India seal the series in their favour.
Kumar Sangakkara continued his brilliant run of form and again emerged as the highest impact batsman for Sri Lanka although he was highly unfortunate to miss the last two matches due to an injury at a time when Sri Lanka were trailing 1-2 in the series and needed him the most. In both of his innings he absorbed considerable pressure; more so in the 3rd ODI where he shepherded his team to a total of 286 after being reduced to 20-3 and registered the highest Pressure IMPACT for a batsman in the series.
Lasith Malinga emerges as the highest impact bowler of the series even though his wickets tally of 8 is equal to that of Thisara Perera and Irfan Pathan mainly because of his high consistency rate (20% failure rate). More importantly, Malinga provided two instances in the series where he swung the match in Sri Lanka’s favour which unfortunately his team couldn’t capitalise in the end. The first instance came in the 3rd ODI where he struck off consecutive balls to take out MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma and left India gasping at 180-5 chasing 287 for victory and the second performance came in the 5th ODI where he took out Manoj Tiwary and Suresh Raina again off consecutive balls to reduce India to 197-5. Even though his performances didn’t result in a win for the Lankans, on a personal level he finally achieved to deliver against the Indians in the ODIs; something which he had failed miserably in his earlier encounters and for which he was highly criticised.
Irfan Pathan, who was initially dropped on this tour and made it only because of an injury to Vinay Kumar, emerged as the highest impact bowler for India in the series. His performance camouflaged the disappointing performances of the three other Indian pacers—Zaheer Khan, Ashok Dinda and Umesh Yadav who barely managed to cross 1 on their Bowling IMPACT charts. Irfan Pathan’s high propensity to take wickets came to the fore again as he was instrumental in getting India the breakthroughs upfront on a consistent basis throughout the series as a result of which he also had the highest Pressure Building IMPACT amongst all the bowlers. His performance in the 5th ODI where he took 5-61 off his 10 overs to foil Sri Lanka’s chase was also India’s highest impact bowling performance of the series.
Both Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis impressed in whatever limited opportunities they got and were one of the bright spots for Sri Lanka in this series. Their performances in the 5th ODI, in particular was exceptional (even though it went in vain) where they forged a partnership of 102 runs for the 6th wicket after being reduced to 102-5, chasing a total of 295 runs.
Both Manoj Tiwary and Rohit Sharma finished at the opposite ends of the table with the former impressing immensely in the two opportunities that he got and putting forward a strong case for his selection above Sharma in the ODI team. Tiwary in particular impressed in the fifth ODI where he came in at a time when India were precariously poised at 87-3 before scoring 65 off 68 balls to give India a launching platform at the end. He also gave more than a handy performance with the ball (4-61) in the 4th ODI to reduce Sri Lanka from 152-2 to 218-7 and managed to increase his stakes for a regular place in the final XI.
Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews were the only two players (Tiwary is excluded because he registered a Bowling IMPACT in only one match) to register an all-round impact in the series (Both Batting and Bowling IMPACT over 1). Perera was also the second-highest impact bowler for Sri Lanka in the series and also gave the highest impact bowling performance of the series in the second ODI where he took 3-19 off his 8 overs to derail the Indian batting order which eventually resulted in the only Lankan win of the series. Angelo Matthews on the other hand had a good series as a batsman (had an impact on all the batting parameters) and also emerged as the bowler with the highest Economy IMPACT.
In all, 8 Indian players managed to have a Series IMPACT of over 2 as compared to only 5 players from Sri Lanka. While India were guilty of having only 1 underperformer (Series IMPACT of less than 1) throughout the series in the form of Rohit Sharma, Sri Lanka played two such players—Dinesh Chandimal and Tillekeratne Dilshan. While Sharma and Chandimal have been criticised enough in the mainstream media, Dilshan’s name has been surprisingly missing on those reports.
Overall, India’s Team IMPACT of 1.66 just shades out Sri Lanka’s Team IMPACT of 1.50 which shows the intensity with which the series was fought and also that the 4-1 margin may just have been a bit too harsh on the Lankans.
For more information, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com