Island Cricket

Monday, November 12, 2007

So what went wrong?

I have no doubt that if Mahela was given another chance at the toss he would still bowl first on that Gabba track, such is the confidence in our batting at this point of time.

Sending the Australian's in to bat at the Gabba has been proven historically to be a bad move and Bayliss surely must have brought that to Mahela's attention.

That only leaves us with the notion that Lanka's batsman have come to a suicidal conclusion that the pitch determines their ability.

So much talk about 'positive' batting in our camp; Positive batting comes from positive footwork.

At a 145+KM/H a split second decides if your going forward or back, every top order dismissal in the 1st Test stemmed from a stroke played whilst shuffling in the crease. The only Lankan batters to make any noteworthy contribution in this game decided if they were going forward or back very early and were decisive in their footwork.

Maharoof who is a decent lower order batsman was ducking to waist high deliveries from a fired up Bret Lee (in the second innings) and kept getting clobbered in the head. If you've watched Maharoof in the past you'll know he is an excellent hooker and puller of the ball.

Maharoof hit on the head by Lee

The brain is a powerful tool and the Lankan's mentally defeated themselves even prior to a ball being bowled on the 1st day.

I cannot fathom how Lanka's professional sportsmen lack the mental application to compete in Australian conditions.

Forgive me if I'm being too critical but its very disheartening to see our top order fail time and time again.

Sangakkara is just one batsman and his inclusion in to the team can only do so much. There are no miraculous remedies to Lanka's problem and the Lankan's need to eliminate their reliance on one 'star' batsman to save them.

It's imperative the top 4 batsman score 250+ in every game in order for us to be competitive in international cricket. That standard must be a compulsory mental attitude within the team.

Going into this Test match it was evident that Lanka's batting was extremely vulnerable. The first tour match against the Chairman's XI was played on a batting friendly track in Adelaide and the batting prospered.

Recent test matches at home against mediocre opposition like Bangladesh have also placed a false sense of security on the team and it's supporters.

The tour match against The Queensland Bulls proved to be a sign of thing to come.

So armed with that knowledge Sri Lanka yet went into this match with a bowling attack missing one of it's two main strike bowlers. Whats the logic behind leaving Malinga out?

Are we trying to bolster our middle order with more batsman who will struggle to come to terms with Australian conditions?

If your top 4 batsman can't do the job for you what makes you think another batsman at number 6 or 7 can win you a game? Winning is the ultimate objective right?

The point I'm trying to make is that i always felt Lanka's batting would struggle but i had firm belief a bowling attack comprising Malinga could sustain enough pressure on both ends to induce a wicket.

Murali troubled the Australian's repeatedly on Day 1 and looked extremely threatening but for no apparent reason he was bowling too quick and too full on Day 2 .

Murali did appear to be ruffled by the chants from the crowd and to my surprise all of the Sri lankan fielders went exceptionally quiet during this time. The team needs to rally around Murali and feed off his energy right now. Prasanna Jayawardene and Mahela in the slips needed to be more vocal and in support of Murali.

Murali is a genius no doubt but the man's personality ensures he can be 60% negative and 40% positive. Murali is a miser and hates to concede too many runs. If Murali had the choice in field placing he would have everyone on the boundary's edge.

Mahela needs to play a stronger and a more positive role in the next Test match when it comes to field placings for Murali. Force 2 slips on the man, a gully,silly mid-on heck a silly mid off! The man deserves it.


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