It was not a surprise that the Chennai test ended in a draw after just four sessions of cricket. It was, of course, a surprise that the Lankans managed to put the Indians in a spot of bother. The Indians could put up only 167 runs, their lowest score against the Lankans so far.
Muralitharan was more than a handful on the pitch that had uneven bounce. All the Indian batsmen struggled including the likes of Sachin and Rahul. Only Sehwag was looking comfortable. Ganguly added another single digit to this career tally while Laxman got himself involved in a runout in the company of Ganguly. The right hander from Hyderabad is a poor runner between the wickets and Ganguly is always a reluctant runner.
On Monday the Lankans, especially, Mahela Jayawardene batted very fluently. Suddenly, the pitch did not show any devils. It can be argued that the sun did the favours for Sri Lanka. On the flip side, it can be pointed out that the Indian batsmen were not simply upto the task of test batting.
It is after eight long years that Sri Lanka are in India for test cricket. In all these years, Muralitharan has picked loads of wickets on similar pitches back home. And, in all these years Indian batsmen have not played a good spinner with the exception of Shane Warne and Saqlain Mushtaq. The off spinner from Pakistan took 5 wickets in consecutive innings of two test matches.
My take is that the Indians have got to take on Muralitharan to have any chance of denying the Lankans a test win on Indian soil. At the same time, the Indian spinners and more specifically, Kumble needs to get on to the wicket taking mode.