Considering the lack of preparation Sri Lanka had going into the ongoing series, India were always expected to do well in the series. As it is, they have an enviable record against their Asian rivals at home. In that sense, the unassailable 3-0 lead they have taken in the series should not be surprising. Still, India could have messed it up. But, it must be said that they have been brilliant in the series right from game one. If the sudden invitation for Sri Lanka took the players by surprise, the Indian routine was also thrown out of gear following West Indies' withdrawal. Credibly, India haven't let it affect them.
Excellent all-round showing has been the key to India's success in the series, and that did not change at Hyderabad. Although Mahela Jayawardene went on to compile another brilliant hundred, India's bowlers kept chipping away at the wickets at the other end. In spite of having the obvious talent, Umesh Yadav is yet to establish himself as a permanent member of the Indian team. His performance at Hyderabad was significant in that sense. Yadav bowled with fire, and his four wickets pegged back the Lankans in a major way. If anything, he needs to work on his economy.
Left-arm spinner Akshar Patel has been going from strength to strength with every game. His consistency has been wonderful throughout and, on Sunday, he was among the wickets as well. Patel has impressed in almost every game, and in fact in the matches that he has featured with in Ravichandran Ashwin, he has actually outdone the senior spinner. India have been lucky to have found a spinner of his ability just prior to the World Cup. Patel is a decent bat as well, which means India have a good option in Patel in case they want to look beyond Ravindra Jadeja as the bowling all-rounder.
Although India were chasing only a small target, the confident manner in which they chased down the target would give the team a lot of positives vibes about themselves. This series was extremely important for Shikhar Dhawan in the wake of his past form. However, he has turned out to be India's best batsman by a distance, crossing fifties in all three games. On Sunday as well, he came up with a splendid knock, which set up the win for India. Dhawan was well supported by Virat Kohli, who continued his good form with another fifty. Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayudu also chipped in with important contributions.
There are a few areas in which India still need to improve although they have clinched the series. In the bowling, they haven't been completely convincing. While Akshar and Umesh have done well, the rest have struggled at times. Ashwin has been economical, but he hasn't been among the wickets constantly. Dhawal Kulkarni has got a couple of changes, but he hasn't looked the part yet. He needs to make his opportunities count. More starts by their batters also need to be converted into bigger scores. India must aim for these betterments in remaining two games.
--By A Cricket Analyst