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Ind-SL: SL thrash India by 8 wickets


Trevor Chesterfield,Cricketnext.com
Aug 23, 2010 at 08:14am IST

Dambulla: What blundering and what a batting debacle! Apart from Mahendra Singh Dhoni getting the call right for a change (a roll of the drums if you please), the rest of the entertainment was as one-sided as it can embarrassingly be at this venue.

It means back to the drawing board and a serious redrafting of the batting and largely bowling plans as well. Not in your wildest dreams were India going to defend 104 in a game Palk Strait neighbours Sri Lanka had to win to stay alive in this triangular series at Rangiri Stadium.

Dhoni again misread the pitch conditions, as has Kumar Sangakkara a week ago and New Zealand's Ross Taylor when they played Sri Lanka after wiping out India for 88 in that abysmal first night of the tournament. It is not as if India are new to this venue. But they should have put Sri Lanka in to bat and picked up a couple of early wickets as they did last Monday.

Ind-SL: SL thrash India by 8 wickets

Sri Lanka won the match in the 16th over to reach the finals of the tri-series competition.

As they also did, if you recall, in the Asia Cup when they lost the "dead rubber" to Sri Lanka but went on to win the final.

There was some dodgy umpiring by Asad Rauf and Kumar Dharmasena who were a little too quick on the trigger more than once and it showed as well at times. But that is the human side of the game for you. So stop complaining and get on with the job – lose some, win some.

For a start, Sri Lanka bowled the correct line and length and this should be a lesson to the Indians. Praveen Kumar failed to find the right areas the way he did in the no-ball-fiasco game seven days ago and if you consider the way 21-year-old Thissara Perera bowled, bringing the ball down from height of a little more than 2 meters, he exploited the bounce and the line as well.

A career best of five for 28 won him Man of the Match and was more than enough to disturb the equilibrium in the batting thinking, with some of hand and footwork shown by the Indians seriously absent to that of a week ago when they knew they had to win. Now they have to beat the Kiwis who are ahead on points, with the final game looming in what is basically a semi-final.

As for the missing batting technique and skills, until Mahela Jayawardene arrived on the scene to open the innings with motor-mouth Tillakaratne Dilshan, and a position where he should always bat in limited-over games, genuine technique and skills were largely absent on this Sunday outing.

As it is, in the aftermath of Dilshan urging Suraj Randiv to bowl that ill-fated no-ball to Virender Sehwag - which caused such a media storm in India this past week, former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu has heavily chastised the opening batsman for his lack of discipline and professionalism. He also strongly feels how the punishment handed out by Sri Lanka Cricket didn’t go far enough and the SLC should have taken tougher measures against Dilshan for urging a junior player to deliberately bowl a no-ball.

In fact, Randiv, back from the suspension, didn't even get to bowl in the Indian innings that scraped and scrapped its way to 103 and even then it was a matter of luck with Yuvraj Singh top-scoring and Ravindra Jadeja throwing away his wicket in a careless shot.

Coach Gary Kirsten has a lot of work to do to get this batting debacle out of their minds and back to square one; instead of flashy shots, sensible stylistic strokeplay, a la Jayawardene. Simons, too, will need to get the bowling psyche back into competitive shape.

They have about 64 hours to get it right; otherwise, there will be no fancy car to drive around the outfield to show off as they did after the Asia Cup.

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