Tharanga century helps Sri Lanka
well compiled unbeaten century from left handed opening batsman Upul
Tharanga gave Sri Lanka an encouraging victory by eight wickets against
the West Indies in their quest for the 2011 World Cup in their second of
three one-dayers at the SSC on Thursday.
The first game was abandoned at the same venue after West Indies
batting first had made a challenging score of 245 for 5 when the rains
came down and drenched the field and that was it. Tharanga who was
Sanath Jayasuriya's opening partner seems to have learnt from the 'Matara
Mauler'. From the manner in which Tharanga is stroking the ball, it is
apparent that the great man's mannerisms in batting have rubbed off on
Good for Tharanga and it is hoped that he will continue in the same
form in the more important 2011 World Cup games and together with the
dashing Tillekeratne Dilshan will provide Sri Lanka with the ideal
platform for the batsmen following to launch.
During his century Tharanga showed good discipline which is very
important in this style of game. He has the strokes to make big runs.
What he needs to do is to concentrate and endeavour to bat through
It was a good beginning for him and it is hoped that he will carry
this form into the big ones ahead. He has come back to form after a long
time and that is a good omen. He was middling the ball well and his
timing was perfect.
Pace and bounce
He has the strokes. What he has to do is to quickly get accustom to
the wicket, read the pace and bounce on it and then cut loose with his
stroke play that is elegant and eye-catching and which could be
demoralizing to the opposing bowlers.
Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara too played pleasingly. But what warmed
the cockles in addition to Tharanga's form was the inspiring and
exemplary batting of former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena.
Jayawardena has a big responsibility in batting and that is to keep
his end going and hold the batting together. The longer he stays at the
wicket he will be able to tell the batsmen following how to go and his
influence will have a telling effect.
Skipper Sangakkara said he was pleased the way the bowlers performed.
He made mention of Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekera, the pacemen and
spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and complimented Tharanga and Jayawardena
for their batting.
For the West Indies it was not the beginning they would have liked.
They would have been glad to be on the winning side. But the batting,
unlike in the first game did not click and give them a total to
challenge the Lankan batting.
Big runs were expected from Chris Gayle, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo
and Ramnaresh Sarwan, but they failed to oblige. Barath who batted
splendid in the first game to make a dazzling hundred, could not give
that innings continuity.
Barath has the technique, the timing and the strokes to be a great
batsman. He must be told that an odd big innings is not what is expected
of a great batsman. Consistency is the hallmark of great batsmen.
The bowlers too were found wanting and failed to trouble the Lankan
batsmen. They seemed to lack the all important penetration and allowed
the Lankan batsmen free reign to make runs.
Skipper Darren Sammy who played the shot of the match in the first
game when he flickled a full toss from Malinga over the mid wicket fence
with rare timing was not at all happy with his team's performance and
promised to get back to the drawing board and analyze where they went
wrong and do better in the final game today.
Aussies on a roll
The Australian cricketers who took a bad beating from the Brits in
the 'Ashes' Test series, seem to hitting back with a vengeance in the
one-day series and are set to win the series convincingly.
At the time of writing, the Aussies are leading the series 5-1 with
the final of seven one-dayers to be played out today and the kangaroos
are in good form to pocket the final game too.
After their resounding success in the Test series, it looked like the
Brits would be threatening opponents in the one-dayers and would
challenge for the 2011 World Cup, which cup they have not won since its
inception in 1975.
But the poor attitude and lack of depth in limited over cricket has
made their supporters ask questions and wonder whether they will be
worthy opponents in the tournament in the sub continent.
But cricket being a funny game - it could be celebrations one time
and cruel and heart breaking next time. But the Brits led by Andrew
Strauss are not going to allow the bashing by the Aussies to unsettle
them and dampen their hopes of a tilt at the World Cup which they will
love to win for the first time.
The Brits seem to have the batting to make big totals. But what must
be worrying them is poor quality of their bowling which is unable to
bowl out the Aussies cheaply. They probably are missing Graeme Swann and
But come World Cup time and Strauss would have licked his men into
being formidable opponents, front up to all opponents, defeat them and
hold aloft the World Cup which must be the dream of the players and
As for the Aussies even without regular skipper Ricky Ponting they
are showing how formidable they are with the ease they are bashing the
Brits. Michael Clarke who is tipped to take over from Ponting is proving
his credentials as a worthy skipper.
The Achilles heel in the Aussie get up is that they lack a spin
bowler of the calibre of the famous Shane Warne whose leggies and other
repertoire of deliveries were anathema to opposing batsmen and who was a
match winner on his day.
The Aussies have the batsmen and fielders to win for them to their
fifth World Cup. They will attempt to destroy their opponents with
fearsome and life threatening pace.