Island Cricket

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sri Lanka's day of shame in Hobart | The Island

The Island (subscription): Statements such as 'great challenge' and 'desperately need to win' have been very much part of Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene's vocabulary during the Commonwealth Bank Series.

But Sri Lanka failed to put the words into action once again, and crashed out of the tri-nation series in the most humiliating fashion, losing their penultimate game of the first round to India here in Hobart by seven wickets with 106 balls to spare on Tuesday.

This performance has to be the worst effort by a Sri Lankan team in a tri-nation series in Australia, since their first tour here in 1985. Writes Rex Clementine reporting from Hobart.

This team has won just one game in seven outings and even Sri Lankan teams of the 1980s managed a single win, and more importantly, those days there weren't as many one-sided games as on this occasion.

So fragile was Sri Lanka's middle order that number four five and six lasted less time in the middle, than they would do in the loo.

Of the seven batsmen that Sri Lanka picked yesterday, the skipper lasted just 11 balls, Chamara Silva just four balls and Tillekeratne Dilshan 12 balls and for the millions of rupees that Sri Lanka Cricket pays them, if that's all what they can offer, there'll be millions of others willing to come forward do exactly the same.

Sri Lankan Cricket certainly needs to ask some harsh questions and find out what has made its cricket team the laughing stock among millions of cricket fans.

They desperately needed to win here to stay alive in the competition and after being put in, despite losing Dilruwan Perera (8), early, they excelled in perfect batting conditions with Kumar Sangakkara and Sanath

Jayasuriya adding 57 runs for the second wicket, and they were set for a big one with the total at 72 for one in the 15th over.

But from thereon, they lost four wickets for the addition of just nine runs as India's seamers ripped through the middle order in the space of just 32 balls.

It was an absolute shocking display by the batsmen, who showed no application whatsoever, barring Chamara Kapugedara who made a resolute 57 in 86 balls.

Kapugedara was last man out, having completed his second ODI fifty and if not for his partnerships with tail-enders, Sri Lanka were heading for further humiliation, with even a three figure total looking beyond their reach.

Kapugedara added a crucial 43 run stand for the eighth wicket with Lasith Malinga (12) and another 40 runs for the ninth wicket with Muttiah Muralitharan (13). The tail-enders proved that there were no demons in the wicket with two fine partnerships and had the established batsmen applied themselves, Sri Lanka could have definitely posted a competitive total.

Sangakkara, who had made 192 in the Test match here three months ago, started the Sri Lankan slide when he charged down the wicket to Praveen Kumar and poked his bat and was comfortably caught by wicketkeeper M. S. Dhoni and that triggered an amazing collapse during 30 minutes of mayhem.

Kumar struck twice in successive overs removing Jayawardene and Chamara Silva. He had the Sri Lankan captain well caught by Rohit Sharma at point for three and Silva's dismal tour might have come to an end when he was caught behind without scoring.

Jayasuriya had shown a glimpse of retuning to form with a 44 ball 34 that included two fours and a typical cut for six before he mistimed a hook shot off Irfan Pathan and at 81 for five, the side was in deep trouble.

Ishant Sharma came back for his second spell and picked up Dilshan and Chaminda Vaas in successive overs. While Dilshan was trapped leg before wicket, Vaas' attempted pull was taken cleanly by the mid-wicket fielder and at 93 for seven, the writing was on the wall as they had lost six wickets for the addition of just 21 runs.

Kapugedara then fought back in terrific fashion, but the task he was faced with was too much.

Kumar finished with four for 31 while Sharma had figures of four for 41.

Jayawardene had been calling for his players to raise their game, but he wasn't leading by example. Having contributed with just three runs with the bat, he put down Robin Uthappa before he had opened his account to deny Chaminda Vaas another wicket in the series.

Then Gautam Gambir got a life when he slashed hard at a Ishara Amarasinghe delivery and the ball flew past the captain at first slip.

After a good bowling effort, the Indian batsmen rubbed salt into the wounds of the Sri Lankans, scoring at 5.5 runs an over. Tendulkar had been out of form the whole series and he warmed up for the big final on Sunday with his 89th half-century.

Tendulkar started off in fine fashion by hitting Amarasinghe's last three balls of his first over for fours. He did the same to Muralitharan soon after he was introduced to the attack, hitting successive boundaries off the off-spinner.

But Murali won this battle with Tendulkar as the opener, playing the inside out drive was caught in the deep by Chamara Silva.

Tendulkar made 63 in 54 balls with ten nicely executed fours.

Muralitharan's eight overs, however, went for 54 runs as the batsmen took a few liberties against him. Gautam Gambir continued his good form in the series and was unbeaten on 63, as India won with plenty of overs to spare.


Anonymous said...

i am so sorry and saddened to see this kind of report on here. i cannot believe a sri lankan newspaper writing this. i am pretty sure the same newspaper made the sri lankan cricket team a laughing matter. everyone team goes through a bad patch. i wonder what the island would say if we lost to a team like Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. No one should forget how these sri lankan cricketers have put sri lanka on the map while all these politicians and journalists have given us a real bad name. i hope these people are enjoying themselves after writing rubbish like this. i am in the united states dying to see sri lanka play in a cricket match in person. If you are sri lankan be proud and be there when they need you the most. these kind of negative comments and articles just discourage the players even further.

Post a Comment