x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

India celebrate at the top

Tendulkar says their rise was not based on individual talent but the culmination of hard work by the players, captain Dhoni, coach Gary Kirsten and support staff.

Indian players celebrate the culmination of a job well done.
Indian players celebrate the culmination of a job well done.

Sachin Tendulkar celebrated India's ascent to the top of the Test rankings for the first time on Sunday and emphasised the importance of teamwork in their "remarkable" rise. India supplanted South Africa as the top Test side after securing a 2-0 series victory over Sri Lanka. They have also recorded series victories over Australia, England and New Zealand, and drawn with South Africa, over the past 18 months. "This is a reflection of what we have been able to achieve in the last 20 months or so. It is great to be sitting on the top," he said. Tendulkar, who holds the record for most runs and centuries in both Test and one-day cricket, said their rise was not based on individual talent but the culmination of hard work by the players, coach Gary Kirsten and support staff.

"We have worked hard and Gary has been very instrumental and along with the other support staff also," Tendulkar said. "Along with all, that the leadership of [Mahendra Singh] Dhoni and the team's effort, so I would say that the whole team got together and worked hard." Dhoni was also quick to play down the role of individuals. "This was not achieved through one or two individuals, but it was a long process and everyone has contributed, whoever has been a part of the side for the last 18 months," he said. "It has been a hard-earned achievement and it will be tough to maintain that also at the same time." Dhoni said India might not be able to maintain their top ranking due to a slow Test schedule. "It is a bit of concern that we are playing just two Test matches in the next six months so it will be tough for us to maintain this position, but at the same time we have done something remarkable so we would rather celebrate it than thinking what next or what we should be doing," he added. "Next we are playing Bangladesh [in January] and I don't know when we are next playing Test cricket and whom we are playing after that. I think to sustain this position we have to do well everywhere, wherever you go and whichever team you play."

Sri Lanka (first innings) 393 India (first innings) 726-9 declared Sri Lanka (second innings, 274-6 overnight):<.b> T Paranavitana lbw b Sreesanth 54 T Dilshan lbw b Harbhajan 16 K Sangakkara c Dhoni b Zaheer 137 M Jayawardene c Dhoni b Zaheer 12 T Samaraweera c Laxman b Zaheer 0 A Mathews c Dhoni b Ojha 5 P Jayawardene lbw b Ojha 32 N Kulasekara c Laxman b Zaheer 19 R Herath c Ojha b Zaheer 3 M Muralitharan c Dhoni b Harbhajan 14 C Welegedara not out 0 Extras (12b, 1lb, 1w, 3nb) 17 Total (in 100.4 overs) 309<.b> Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-119, 3-135, 4-137, 5-144, 6-208, 7-278, 8-282, 9-307 Bowling: Harbhajan 34.4-5-80-2 Ojha 23-4-84-2 Zaheer 21-5-72-5 (1nb) Sreesanth 13-4-36-1 (2nb, 1w) Sehwag 9-2-24-0