It's a debate which shall perhaps never end, how one stroke too many can damage the flow of an innings and even cause it to stumble, as was visible on the opening day of the third Test between India and Sri Lanka. Pujara disappointed with 8 and so as Rahane with 17 runs. There were a fair few juicy offerings on Saturday, but that is to be expected of someone who is practising the rarest of rare crafts - left-arm wrist spin.
"We were playing our shots and got out, it was not as if we were getting out because of the wicket or anything", Dhawan said.
It was the seventh consecutive half-century for Rahul, and even though he joined the likes of Everton Weekes, Andy Flower, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kumar Sangakkara and Chris Rogers for the most consecutive fifty-plus scores, the 25-yearold would be a bit sad to find that he and Rogers are the only players to have not converted any of those fifties into a hundred. "They gave me a new name and I was just celebrating that, that's it". Myself and Rahul, we played very nicely. "We were just playing our shots and got out. Left-arm bowler [Malinda Pushpakumara] is also good and he took wickets today; he has been bowling consistently on the right spot for them". The lower order has hardly ever failed India when they have found themselves in a soup of late.
Ajinkya Rahane was tortured by Sandakan, the batsman being unable to decipher which way the ball would turn. The opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul had put up another stellar performance by scoring 188 runs thereby becoming the highest opening pair score against Srilanka in Srilanka. It resulted in him getting out caught at mid-on.
You can understand Dhawan and Rahul getting out the way they did because they were looking to dominate, but the shots that the next three played were not the best given the situation and given how they were not into fluent innings. "He is very nice", Dhawan noted, generously. He was turning the ball and one odd ball was turning a lot.
It was not as if we got out because of the pitch. It's hard to pick his googly also. He realised the ones that turned the other way were considerably slower.
More and more teams will work these things out, but that will also force Sandakan and those of his ilk to improve their craft and add to their repertoire. Having won the series already, the third test began yesterday. Coincidentally, Kuldeep's debut also was against Australia, and he too could have said of the Aussies after his Dharamsala heroics, "They had no idea". For the first time this series, India go into the next day's play without momentum on their side, and under the pump. Between them, Paul Adams and Dave Mohammed had a completely forgettable outing in the drawn Cape Town Test between South Africa and West Indies, returning combined match figures of 3 for 315 from 80 overs.