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Sri Lankan juggernaut rolls on!
by NT Shiv Kumar
Oct 14, 2006
The legendary Windies keeper Jeff Dujon summed it all up when he stated at the end of the match that West Indies played school boy cricket today and seemed to have lost it all in their heads. It certainly was not a sub-100 run wicket; the ball wasn’t doing anything laterally, it was just keeping a tad low and coming slow off a typical sub continent surface that offered a bit of grip at the good length spots.

Chaminda Vaas started the proceedings in his inimitable style and yet again delivered the early blows, accounting for the dangerous Gayle and Sarwan, to set it up nicely for Maharoof to slice thru the rest at quick succession. Even he would not have dreamt such flattering returns from a tidy spell of ‘ just short of a good length, stump to stump bowling’ that the Windies batsmen made a mess of, playing across the line on a slow wicket and completely forgetting the basics of a straight bat. They all batted as if there was no tomorrow and didn’t seem to care which group they would end up playing in the next round, though I suspect Indian fans would be quietly happy to see Windies rather than the Sri Lankans in their group. For a change, Murali couldn’t feast on this buffet and went wicketless despite turning over 30 deliveries to the lower order batsmen – as they say, you got to be a good batsman to get out to great bowlers on a turning track!

Upul Tharanga had to catch up with the law of averages and he probably wouldn’t have minded going thru that for this match, bowled for a duck!

Jayasuriya blazed his way thru like only he can, slicing and smashing thru the off, though he did’nt seem like being in his vintage touch and Jayewardene got some more match practice playing some superb inside out lofted shots, sweep slogs to finish the formalities in a hurry. The skipper should have probably sent in Maharoof at number 3 to reward him for his exceptional bowling and in the bargain get him to polish his batting that is so handy in the slog overs. I think this is where the Aussies are different from the rest – they truly know how to develop the team by leveraging each match situation for individual development. When Greg Chappell tries to do that for India, they call it experimentation!

Well, experimentation is something that I suspect Dravid and Chappell would continue doing, going into the match against England tomorrow at the Pink city. There is already a buzz that Suresh Raina will come out to open with Tendulkar and Sehwag held back to provide some firepower in the middle overs – we will soon know how that unfolds!

 
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