BENGALURU: India have already won the Test series and are attempting a clean sweep. With Sri Lanka going through the motions, the cricket is not of top quality. However, the third Test has seen something interesting. Probably for the first time, two chinaman bowlers are playing in the same Test, for the two teams.
Kuldeep Yadav, when he got his Test cap against Australia in Dharamsala, became the 30th chinaman bowler to play international cricket. He was included in the playing XI for the Test that started on Saturday. Sri Lanka’s Lakshan Sandakan, who had played five Tests before this one, did decently to take two for 84, including the big wickets of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. A mirror image of a right-armer’s leg-break, a chinaman is a ball from a left-armer that is bowled with the wrist and turns the opposite way to orthodox left-arm spin. According to former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, the unorthodox variety is exciting for players and fans alike.
“Chinaman bowlers are fun to watch. They have a lot of variety and their repertoire of tricks is something that orthodox spinners don’t possess. There is a tendency to go for runs, but they have wicket-taking potential. These bowlers have a unique angle while releasing the ball. Even if the ball doesn’t spin that much, the natural angle can deceive batsmen,” Sivaramakrishnan told Express.
Sandakan, who bowled 25 overs, made sure batsmen watched the ball from his wrists. Pujara failed to read his variation in trajectory and edged one to slip. Kohli, who was well set, tried to fetch a flighted delivery from outside off and got a thick edge. “Sandakan was not afraid of flighting the ball and despite getting hit a few times, kept at it and got his reward. The pitch is already helping spinners and I’m sure Kuldeep must be rubbing his hands in glee,” Sivaramakrishnan added. Incidentally, the 51-year-old was the person to hand Kuldeep his Test cap.
There were quite a few talks about Kuldeep and whether he should have been included in the team for the second Test. However, LS as he is popularly known, batted for patience with the 22-year-old.
“I started when I was 17 and finished at 21. Kuldeep should wait and watch. He has bags of potential and will definitely get more chances. My most enduring image of Kuldeep is when he outfoxed MS Dhoni, a veteran of playing spin, during this year’s IPL. Under Ravi’s (Shastri) tutelage, he will come up in a big way. He knows how to handle young talent and I see a very bright future for Kuldeep.”
Other than R Ashwin, it might be India’s chinaman’s turn to shine once the Lankans come out to bat.