Sri Lanka v India ODI Series: Youngsters rule the Castrol Index
A stupendous performance by India saw them outclass Sri Lanka comprehensively by 13 points on the Castrol Index and clinch the five-match ODI series 4-1. We witnessed some industrious performances from individual players helping their respective teams win crucial matches.
Analysing the Castrol Index, we take a look at the five Top Performers who made a huge impact in this series.
When it comes to consistency, the one name that stands out in the Sri Lankan unit is that of Kumar Sangakkara’s. When the team is in tatters, he is the one who gets them out of troubled waters. One of the most important reasons why the Lankans lost the ODI series was the lynchpin’s absence in the last two ODIs due to injury. In spite of that, he still finished the series as the best player on the Castrol Index with 52 points thanks to his intrepid approach. He ended up as the highest averaged player in the series with an average of 103, scoring 206 runs from two innings. In the first ODI at Hambantota, the hosts were down in the dumps chasing a mammoth target of 315. Coming in at 9/1 in the 2nd over, Sangakkara scored a sublime 133 and almost single-handedly took the Lankans past the finish line. Even though his team lost, a splendid innings under tremendous pressure earned him the best Batting Momentum of 170 and the highest Castrol Index of 63. In the third match at Colombo, he hurt his hand via a vicious bouncer from Ashok Dinda batting on 24 but with immense pain, he carried on bravely and scored 73 runs and powered the hosts to a competitive total of 286 from 19/2.
Another No. 3 batsman who has been creating waves in the international arena is India’s Virat Kohli. His consistency, clever approach and breathtaking strokeplay attained him the second-best Castrol Index of 49. He ended up as the top run-getter in the series with 296 runs from 5 matches at a brilliant average of 74. The failure of one of the Indian openers in every game meant that he had to face the music of the swirling balls in the Quick Start Overs. He patiently saw through the tough initial period, picked up clever singles and twos, an odd boundary in the middle overs and then after settling down, blasted the bowlers out of the park. Both his centuries came in a winning cause but the one that stood out was his 128* in the fourth ODI at Colombo which helped India seal the series. He strode to the crease in the first over after India lost Gautam Gambhir, chasing a tricky 252, and stayed till the end to power his side to a 12-point victory on the Castrol Index. His astute approach helped him top the Batting Momentum charts with a value of 189 and the Castrol Index with 81 points.
Manoj Tiwary was waiting in the wings for a long time but when opportunity knocked on his door, he made sure that he grabbed it with both hands. A dexterous all-round performance in the last two ODIs – scoring 86 runs, scalping 4 wickets and affecting one crucial run-out – achieved him a good Castrol Index of 49. Primarily a batsman, Tiwary wreaked havoc and decimated the Sri Lankan lower middle order with his dicey leg-spinners which paved the way for victory in the fourth ODI. A sumptuous disciplined spell of 4/61 achieved him the best Bowling Efficiency of 176 in the match. He followed this up with a brilliant batting performance in the final game where he played a crucial role in helping India reach a competitive 294 with a patient 65. Later, his brilliant run-out of Angelo Mathews turned the game around in favour of the Indians. His athleticism and superb reflexes garnered 41 fielding points.
Suresh Raina has been the unsung hero for a while. He has mastered the art of batting in the Extreme Performance Overs. In this series, he proved why he is one of the best finishers of the game as he turned up with three half-centuries coming down the order at No. 5 or No. 6. One of the most important aspects of batting in the death overs is the strike rate. Raina batted at a staggering strike rate of 118.36 and scored 174 runs which helped India top the Overall Extreme Performance batting charts with 65 points.
Just before the start of the series, Castrol Index had underlined the importance of Thisara Perera to the Lankan side. He didn’t disappoint as he ended with a decent Castrol Index of 48 mainly because of his assiduous all-round performances which kept Sri Lanka in the fray throughout the series. In the absence of Nuwan Kulasekara, he bowled brilliantly in the Quick Start Overs and ended up as the joint highest wicket-taker with 8 wickets. It was his Castrol Index peaking performance (85 points) of 3/19 in the second ODI that powered the Lankans to a thumping 33-point win over the visitors, their only win.
It was a thoroughly entertaining series as both teams displayed true grit and resolve. But the best thing to happen to the gentleman’s game was the youngsters making inroads and ending up as the Top Performers on the Castrol Index. The fans can rest assured that there is a lot to come from these young guns in the near future.