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Runs and smiles for India at Vizag
by NT Shiv Kumar
Feb 17, 2007
The series decider was expected to be a cracker of a match at Vizag but the Indian batsmen gorged themselves well on a delicious run feast served by the SL bowlers on a batting beauty, to make it a no-contest. Minus their magician Murali and the venerable Vaas, the bowling attack looked way below par on a track that begged a chase of 300 plus.

Earlier in the morning, the SL top order got into overdrive much sooner than the slightly damp pitch allowed them to and lost 4 quick wickets and with that the plot to bat India out of the game. That they ended up with a competitive total of 258 was solely due to the brilliant century from Chamara Silva whose demeanor, drives, cuts and slog sweeps reminded one of SL’s finest batsman of all times- Aravinda De Silva.

For India, the Sehwag puzzle was the single biggest challenge awaiting a solution. He came out to bat at his customary number one position and looked as poised as anyone in mid summer form. His performance over the last two months have hogged the headlines just as much as any national crisis but the knock today should hopefully blow away his cobwebs of diffidence. The manner of his dismissal had apathy written all over it but for all that this man has been going through, we should just laugh it off for now.

Robin Uthappa blazed away to yet another fifty with a stunning array of daring shots all over the park. He is sure a special talent and one hopes he features in the playing eleven in all matches at the WC- he has it in him to be the game changer for India just as Jayasuriya was during SL’s winning campaign in WC’96.

Ganguly and Yuvraj got together at 118 for 3 but despite a small window of opportunity to attack, the SL captain looked listless and short of inventive tactics. Lot of it could be attributed to his horrendous batting run in the recent past and that surely must be an area of huge concern for the Sri Lankans ahead of the WC.

Both the left-handers adopted the block and blast approach to the spinners with a steady stream of sixes to break the shackles and further unnerve the Sri Lankans. Yuvraj’s tentativeness against off spinners was evident but to his credit he used his feet well and milked lots of singles to get off the strike. He played a sublime innings today- punctuated with power, grace, timing and a distinct propensity to play straight all thru the innings.

Ganguly too joined the run riot and added yet another half century to bag the Man of the Series award amidst some champagne spraying by his teammates. India would be praying and hoping for more such champagne moments, especially on the big day which is 10 Saturdays from now!
 
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