Ravindra Jadeja engraved his position as India’s top all-rounder with a career-best unbeaten 175, breaking legendary Kapil Dev’s record in the process to put India in the driver’s seat against Sri Lanka on Day 2 of the first Test in Mohali on Saturday. It was his second Test century.
Jadeja’s 228-ball knock, that included 17 fours and three sixes, enabled India to reach 574/8 before captain Rohit Sharma called his boys back at Tea. Jadeja’s knock came in after he missed India’s last four Tests due to a knee injury.
The Saurashtra man suffered the injury during the drawn first Test between India and New Zealand in Kanpur last year and had to miss the entire tour of South Africa. On Saturday, Jadeja Kapil Dev’s long-standing record for the highest score by an Indian batter at No.7 or below in Test cricket.
Kapil Dev had scored 163 against Sri Lanka in Kanpur in 1986 while batting at No.7. Jadeja’s intent was right from the start of Day 2. Coming at an overnight score of 44, the left-hander reached his fifty with a boundary in the second over of the day.
From there on, there was no looking back for the social media-frenzy batter as dispatched the below-par Sri Lankan attack to all corners of the ground. At one point the left-hander refused to take singles in a spread-out field and only dealt in boundaries.
After his 104-run stand with Rishabh Pant on Day 1, Jadeja stitched two more century stands on Saturday as India’s total grew big and big with each passing over. He first put on 130 runs with Ravichandran Ashwin (61 off 82 balls) for the seventh wicket before forging another unbroken 103 runs for the ninth wicket with Mohammed Shami by his side.
"I always enjoy batting with him (Ashwin), bowling with him, it is all about teamwork, one man can't win you the game and it has to be a team effort," Jadeja said after play on Day 2.
“I was just taking my time and being very calm in the middle, me and Rishabh were talking about building a partnership (on Friday) and had a similar conversation with Ash (Ravi Ashwin) also."
Interestingly, Jadeja scored 71 runs out of 103 scored with Shami, which literally put the final nail in the coffin for Sri Lanka. Such was the onslaught from the Indian batters, especially Jadeja, Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya at one point was bowling with a long-off, deep mid-wicket, deep fine leg and deep point in an attempt to save boundaries.
Meanwhile, India became the third team to have three century partnerships after the fall fifth wicket. West Indies were the first team to achieve the feat in 1948 against India in Delhi. England did the same against Australia in 2011 at SCG.
Jadeja also became the fifth Indian to be involved in three 100-plus stands in an innings. The others are Vinod Kambli, Virender Sehwag, Karun Nair and current head coach Rahul Dravid.