Sri Lanka bowling inconsistent to keep India’s batsmen at bay -
CRICKET: In one of the most disappointing ODI series in recent times
manned by skipper Mahela Jayawardena who has conceded a 4/0 lead to the
hands of the strong Indian team in the five match series, he will have
to find a dependent formula to deprive India going for the clean sweep
and salvage some pride when the fifth and final One day match begins to
day (a day-match) at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
It is clear when comparing the two teams, that India are far superior
in all three departments of the game. The Indian front-liners showed
that they could build big scores through useful partnerships. But the
same cannot be said about the Lankan batsmen. Besides, Sanath
Jayasuriya’s century in the first Dambulla match and Sangakkara’s 84 in
the third ODI at the R. Premadasa Stadium, the inability of almost all
the batsmen to make a challenging total gave India a huge advantage. It
seems that the middle order looks creaky and handing over two many `dot’
balls to the Indians which was another reason for the defeat. Another
set-back for the home team was that Ajantha Mendis could not produce the
same magic that undid the Indians some months ago in the first three
ODI’s he played. Mendis was rested for the fourth game and Muralitharan
too, could not contribute with many wickets which gave the Indians the
Skipper Mahela Jayawardena said that his team had played some good
cricket, but wasn’t good enough to beat the Indians. He admitted at the
same time that they made mistakes while batting, bowling and fielding.
“It is difficult to beat a team like India who are playing very good
cricket right now while making all those mistakes, that is something we
really need to focus on,” said the Sri Lankan captain. Referring to
losing the toss on all four occasions, Jayawardena said that we cannot
complain about it as that’s how the game goes on.
“The wicket looks pretty good in the first half of the innings and
then tends to slow down and the spinners gets the advantage and it tends
to spin more under lights, so unfortunately we haven’t won the toss in
any of the matches. However at the same time while batting second we had
our opportunities we came close in the second game in beating them, so
when you get those kinds of opportunities you need to do that and finish
the game off, so that it pressurises them, but in the whole series we
were unable to insert the pressure on them.”
Jayawardena said that he would be lieing if he says that some players
are not tired after so many tours, specially the bowlers who had a heavy
work-load during the last four weeks in Bangladesh, Pakistan and the
present time. We have obviously to think about the two Tests on Pakistan
tour, some players are tired, but if you ask them they would not admit
the fact as they are keen to beat India because they know India is a
good side and that’s part and parcel of International cricket. Right now
and one cannot just complain, but we have to move on.
Referring to Ajantha Mendis who could not make a big impact as he did
when the Indians were here last time Jayawardena said that “What we got
to realise is that during the last six months we played India quite a
few times, the Asia Cup and the Indian series here and again the ODI
series here and obviously they have seen quite a bit of Ajantha and in
this short period of time they have been able to play him a bit better
than what they used to. That happened to `Murali’ as well, when he came
into the scene, they found how `Murali’ had gone about, changing his
pace, variations and doing different things. Ajantha will learn as well.
He is still young, just 23, and the more matches he plays he will
continue to surprise many batsmen”, said Jayawardena.
When the Indians arrived for the 5 ODI series, Jayawardena was aware
of their strength and ability as they had beaten Australia and England.
“They had defeated Australia in Australia and England 5/0 in India.
So, they have been playing very good cricket and consistent. We knew
it’s going to be a tough challenge even though we were playing at home.
We tried our best, but it was not good enough, in the sense, we were not
playing to our true potential making mistakes in the field.
Bowling hasn’t been consistent and at the same time the batsmen
although getting runs, were not getting big scores.
When you got to beat a quality opposition like India, all those
ingredients should come together and we have not managed to muster it’.
In the final game today, hopefully, we should get a good wicket, play to
our true potential and eradicate all the mistakes we have been
committing so far in the final game.
Today we have to play for our pride. We need to concentrate on the
job in hand and give off our best before we go to Pakistan”, concluded
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardena (Captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath
Jayasuriya, T. M. Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Thilina Kandamby, Angelo
Mathew, Farveez Maharoof, Nuwan Kulasekera, Muttiah Muralitharan,
Dilhara Fernando, Jehan Mubarak, Thilina Thushara Mirando, Dammika
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin
Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Irfan
Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan.