Tale of the tail
The recently concluded test series between India and Sri Lanka just underlines the importance of lower order batsmen in the game.
One would easily remember the recently concluded series between India and Sri Lanka for Sachin's and Sanga's double ton, Muralidaran's 800th scalp, Viru playing a defying shot while on 99, or Laxman's very very special knock to take India to the victory, but what not many people would remember is the grittiness and the positive attititude shown by the lower order batsmen of both the teams.
I would prefer to call them as lower order batsmen and not just bowlers who can bat, because the way they have stood up to the occasion may even puzzle the top order batsmen of both the teams. Abhimanyu Mithun, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Lasith Malinga, Ranganna Herath, Ajantha Mendis and others deserve a special mention for showing a strong character. When it comes to putting a price on his wicket, the first person who comes to our mind is Rahul Dravid (unfortunately he was not his own self on this tour), but henceforth this phrase may be used for some of the lower order batsmen as well.
Had it not been for Ajantha Mendis's innings of 78 runs in the second innings of final test, hosts would have been out of the game on the fourth day itself. Had it not been for Amit Mishra and Abhimanyu Mithun's partnership of 64 runs, India would have not managed to take a slender but very crucial lead in the first innings. Malinga and Herath's partnership of 115 runs in Galle Test batted India out of the game. It was great to see tail enders giving a fight when they have their backs to the wall.
Today, when I was watching the interview of Sourav Ganguly on one of the news channel, he was asked whether he ever thought that India would beat Sri Lanka so convincingly, when at one point they were struggling at 53 for 3 ? His response was that he never really doubted India's chances to win the game with batsmen like Laxman, Dhoni, Raina, MITHUN, yet to come. Doesn't one name sound surprising there, the one in bold letters? Now that's how a perception of audience changes when the attitude of player changes. Mithun, whenever he batted in this series, never seemed like a tail ender, he made sure that the opposition had to slog it out to get his wicket.
Now, on the other side, it would seem to be like asking too much from the bowlers. First they have to take 20 wickets of the opposition and then lend a helping hand in batting department also. But that's exactly how the game has changed over the course of time.Just as 'Pagers and Type-Writers' have become obselete over the time, bowlers too sometimes would have to do role-reversal to add some strength to their team. Same way as part-time bowler does the trick when nothing is going right for the specialist bowlers.
Do give in your comments on the same.