India lose points but retains top position in ICC Test rankings
Colombo: India will retain the No.1 position in the ICC Test Championship table after pulling off a five-wicket series leveling win against Sri Lanka in the third and final Test match of the series at P. Sara` Oval, Colombo, on Saturday.
Team India, who started the Test match on 130 rating points, will drop to 127 points when the table is updated, but will still be eight points clear of second placed South Africa (119 points).
Sri Lanka will move into third place on 115 points, ahead of both Australia (113) and England (111).
India had lost the first Test at Galle by 10 wickets, while the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo had been drawn.
A defeat would have seen India plummet to 122 ratings points, and lifted Sri Lanka to 121 ratings points to get into second position for only the second time since the current Test ranking system was introduced in 2003.
In the ICC ODI rankings, Australia remains at top with 132 points. India is at the second spot with 118 points, while South Africa occupies third spot with 115 points
Chasing 257 on a rather difficult fifth day track, the Indians recovered from early blows suffered on Friday with a 109-run partnership between middle-order batsman VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar that laid the foundation of the win.
Tendulkar was dismissed on 54, when Randiv flighted one outside the leg stump and the Indian, attempting a sweep shot, ended up gloving one to wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.
Joined by the in-form Suresh Raina, who scored a century on debut in the drawn second Test, Laxman ensured that the boundaries kept coming for India at regular intervals and he alone collected 12 of them.
Raina clobbered Chanaka Welegedara for a six to hand Sri Lanka there first defeat at P Sara Oval Stadium since August 1994, triggering scenes of celebration in the Indian dressing room. He remained unbeaten on 41.
But on the flipside, Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s men could not break the 17-year-old jinx of not winning a series in the island nation.
Randiv was the most threatening of Sri Lanka`s bowlers and assumed the role of the lead spinner after Murlitharan`s retirement in just his second Test. He claimed five wickets in the match.
Brief Scores: India- First Innings 436 (Sehwag 109, Raina 62, Randiv 4-80) econd Innings- 258 for 5 (Laxman 103 not out, Tendulkar 54, Randiv 5-82)
Sri Lanka Ist Innings- 425 (Samaraweera 137 not out, Sangakkara 75, Ojha 4-115) econd Innings- 267 (Samaraweera 83, Mendis 78)