As Good As It Gets

After the first couple of days in Kanpur I was ready to join the chorus of anguish about the future of Test cricket in an age where pitches often seem only to come in various shades of dead. Today, though, we had a reminder that you can still make things happen pretty well anywhere if you bowl well enough. And the man who made it all happen was Kerala's finest.

Back in this blog's early days, in the summer of 2006, I wrote admiringly about Sreesanth's potential. But the volatility of his temperament and some injury issues hindered him to the point where, in the brave new Indian world of the ultra-fit Zaheer and the ultra-promising Ishant Sharma, he seemed little more than a dated afterthought, reduced to earning a crust on the county circuit with Warwickshire in a seemingly vain attempt to bowl himself back into contention for a place in his national team.

His bowling today comprised an alchemic mixture of reverse and conventional swing (sometimes, seemingly, with the same delivery), coupled with a quality of seam position rarely seen outside a coaching manual. The dismissals of Rangana Herath, bowled by a subtle away-swinger to the left-hander late in the first innings, and Dilshan, caught behind to begin Sri Lanka's follow-on slide, stood out, with the latter as good a piece of finely-honed seam-bowling as I've seen since Glenn McGrath, or even Richard Hadlee, retired.

In case anyone was in any doubt, today proved it. This is a man who can really, really, bowl.

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