India cricket team’s skipper Virat Kohli Sunday hailed Ravindra Jadeja for his all-round performance in the series-clinching victory against Sri Lanka, saying the left-arm spinner gave the side a great balance.
The celebrations were short-lived, however, after cricket’s governing body suspended Jadeja from the third and final Test later this week for dangerous play during his match-winning performance in Colombo.
India crushed the home team by an innings and 53 runs on day four of the second Test in Colombo to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Jadeja, the world number one bowler in ICC Test rankings, claimed five second-innings wickets as India bowled out the hosts for 386. He also contributed an unbeaten 70 in India’s crushing first innings total of 622-9 declared.
“Guys who have both abilities are very rare to find. That’s where we think they’re very precious, specially in the longer format because they provide you with great balance,” Kohli told reporters.
“He can give you a very quick 60-70 anywhere at any stage and it can really turn the game... he’s always in the game. I would say he’s a very valuable cricketer for us.”
But India will have to make do without him in the final Test starting Saturday in Pallekele, after the International Cricket Council slapped Jadeja with a one-match ban and a fine for dangerous play.
Jadeja fell foul of the umpires after the final delivery of the 58th over when, fielding off his own bowling, he threw the ball back at batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, who had not left his crease.
The ball narrowly missed him in a manner which the on-field umpires determined as “dangerous”, the ICC said in a release.
Sri Lanka had handed India the advantage after being dismissed for 183 in their first innings and conceding a 439-run lead.
But the hosts fought back during their follow-on with a defiant 191-run second-wicket partnership between the left-handed Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis, who fell for 110 before stumps on day three.
However Kohli kept rotating his bowlers at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground to keep the batsmen on their toes, and the strategy paid off.