India completed a 5-0 series whitewash over Sri Lanka on Sunday when they chased down a target 239 with six wickets in hand. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had not taken a single wicket in the series so far, took five wickets in the match. Virat Kohli scored a composed century, his 30th in ODI cricket to see India through. Here are five take aways from India’s domination of Sri Lanka in the series.
1. The fall of Sri Lanka
Perhaps the most glaring aspect of this series, and the Test series before this, has been Sri Lanka’s inability to compete with India even in their own home conditions. Such a whitewash would have been almost unimaginable during the time when the Sri Lankan dressing room was populated by the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Tilakaratne Dilshan and a younger Lasith Malinga. In this series, Sri Lanka have looked devoid of any leadership and the misfields are only a reflection of the poor fitness standards in the team. They now face an uphill struggle to secure automatic qualification to the 2019 World Cup.
2. India’s squad depth
India seem to be on the other end of the spectrum as compared to the Lankans. Even when one takes out crucial players like Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja etc. India still possess a strong squad that is capable of beating any opposition. Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav, both of whom are not regulars in the ODI squad, stepped up on Sunday and their innings were crucial to India’s win
3. The ‘MS Dhoni’ question
The most frequent accusation that was being levelled at the former India captain was that he was losing his ability to finish games. But in this series, Dhoni took on the role of a guide when it was needed. In the second ODI, India looked down and out it when they were 131/7 chasing a total of 237. Dhoni came in, soaked the pressure and, together with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, led India to victory. Dhoni has done the same in the third and fourth match and it is telling that he has remained unbeaten in all three occasions.
4. Jasprit Bumrah rises to the occassion
Bumrah has experienced a remarkable rise over the past two years and it seems only natural progression that he was the go-to man whenever Sri Lanka seemed to be putting on a partnership. The length and accuracy that he maintained was simply too much for the hosts to bear and they crumbled under his lanky shoulders. He is the highest wicket taker in the series with 16 scalps.
5. Captain Kohli’s consistency
Kohli has had a dream start to his live as India’s captain in all formats. Under him, India haven’t lost a single 50-over series. At the same time, it is to be remembered that India are yet to face any of their fellow top four sides away from home – where they have traditionally struggled – under Kohli. But India’s domination of the likes of Australia and England at home and Sri Lanka away has been unprecedented. Moreover, his performances with the bat just seem to only begetting better and the records are starting to show. His 100 on Sunday was his 30th, making him the second highest in the list of players with most ODI centuries, only behind Sachin Tendulkar. The half century that he scored on the way was marked by a nonchalant wave of the bat.