Former India opener Gautam Gambhir, while lauding Ravindra Jadeja for his match-winning performance with the bat and ball for India in the first Test against Sri Lanka, said that his epic 175* was not the best innings of his Test career. India won the first Test in Mohali by an innings and 222 runs on the third day.
It was a clinical performance by the Indian bowlers as Jasprit Bumrah took two wickets and Mohammad Shami took three wickets, while Ravindra Jadeja picked 9 and Ravichandran Ashwin took 6 wickets as Sri Lanka was bundled for 174 in their first innings and were out for 178 in their second innings after being asked to follow-on.
Though day one was all Rishabh Pant as he smoked his way to 96 in 97 balls, day two belonged to Ravindra Jadeja. Hanuma Vihari had made 58, Virat Kohli had made 45 and along with Rishabh Pant had put India into the driving seat at 332/6 when Pant fell.
Then Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin (61) came together and added 130 runs for the 7th wicket. Jadeja then switched gears, completing his second Test hundred, and added another quick 100 odd runs with Mohammad Shami, who remained unbeaten on 20. Jadeja ended up making 175*, his highest Test score and highest by an Indian at number 7, going past Kapil Dev’s 163 against the same opposition in 1986.
Stats Are Pretty Misleading. These 175 Runs Are The By-Product Of How Ravindra Jadeja Has Batted In Overseas Conditions: Gautam Gambhir
During a discussion on Star Sports, Gautam Gambhir was asked if Jadeja’s first-innings effort was the standout innings of his Test career.
He said: “I don’t think so. I feel the innings Ravindra Jadeja played in Australia or the knocks he has played outside India, he will get more confidence from that. Stats can be very misleading. There was a time after the century where he was just milking – Dhananjaya de Silva, Asalanka and Embuldeniya were bowling but if you talk about Australia or England, the 40 or 50-run contributions there are probably much more important than this innings.”
Gambhir then pointed out that these 175 runs are the result of Ravindra Jadeja’s grind in overseas conditions in Australia, England and other places.
He said: “These 175 runs are the by-product of how Ravindra Jadeja has batted in overseas conditions. You only see the end result but the lead up to these 175 runs, there has been a lot of effort put in that, he scored runs in very difficult circumstances and conditions and that is why he got a chance at No. 6 or No. 7.”
Gambhir also added that if Jadeja hadn’t played those important knocks overseas, India might have been enticed to play someone else in his place.