|Wednesday, 8 January 2003|
Lanka humiliated for 65 by Australia 'A'
Elmo Rodrigopulle reporting from Australia....
With two days to go to meet Australia in the Victoria Bitter one-day triangular series, Sri Lanka suffered a humiliating and morale-shattering defeat against Australia 'A' in a warm-up game at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka were dismissed for a beggarly 65 in 25 overs and the home team hit off the required runs for no loss in just under 12 overs with Greg Blewett and Jimmy Maher unbeaten on 28 each respectively.
The Sri Lankan batsmen were a utter disgrace. Not one of them seemed capable of coming to terms with the wicket or the attack, handled skilfully by Darren Lehmann and gave an exhibition on how not to bat.
At the moment there is no doubt that the Sri Lankans are in a crisis. Their game is in pieces. They don't seem to be playing with any purpose. The batsmen seem incapable of playing themselves in, before launching.
To be out for 65 is unbecoming of a country that not so long ago upset the cricket world by emerging World Champions in one-day version of the game. At the moment, sad to say, the Sri Lankans will just be making up the numbers and going through the motions in the remaining games.
A lady cricket fan summed it all beautifully when she asked: How can the Sri Lankan cricketers face the people when they play so badly? Doesn't that question tell the story?
How the cricketers can raise their game from the quicksand that it has fallen into, will be interesting to watch.
For once Sanath Jayasuriya won the toss and elected to bat on a wicket which had a bit of grass on it. Hopes were that the Lankan batsmen would make use of the opportunity and play themselves into form, what with more serious games ahead. But that was only a dream. One couldn't understand the indecent hurry that led to opener Avishka Gunewardena's run out which opened the gates for the disgraceful collapse that followed. Jayasuriya played down a delivery and both batsmen scampered for Gunewardena to be caught well short of his ground.
It was poor thinking by the men who matter to send Hashan Tillekeratne first drop. In the previous game he batted in this same slot and made 30 in 56 balls. In this innings he made 11 in 57 balls. If the think tanks here reckon that this how one-day cricket is played then their thinking to say the least is very poor. The only thing Tillekeratne did was to play the game he is competent at - push-ball cricket-much akin to Test cricket which has no place in limited over cricket. His only achievement is that he top scored with 11.
Jayasuriya must be wondering what he must do to come good. The ball he tickled to wicket keeper Ryan Campbell looked a wide ball and the umpire would not have been faulted had he called so. 16 for 2 Jayasuriya failed again, out for 5.
Aravinda de Silva from whom much is expected to raise the poor form of the team failed again hooking too early and made 9 in 21 balls. Mahela Jayawardena received a wretched delivery and the ball took the splice of his bat and ballooned to point. He failed to score. Kumar Sangakkara made a nice cover drive for four and then offered Lehmann, at cover, fielding practice, lolling a catch. He made 6.
The consistent Russel Arnold who has been in good form had a rare failure when he failed to read the movement of the delivery and snicked to be caught behind. He made 1.
Tillekeratne's snail-paced innings thankfully came to an end when he offered Ian Harvey a caught and bowled. Repeating he made 11 in 57 balls. The last four batsmen comprising Buddhika, Nissanka, Fernando and Gunaratne are all strokeless wonders. Not one of them seem to be able to hit a ball. Being tailenders they are expected to use the long handle. But leave alone using the long handle, they can't use a handle.
The poor Sri Lankan score of 65 came in exactly 25 overs with extras being 25. Take away the extras and what do you get -45-. Shame. The Lankan innings lasted just 110 minutes.
Pacemen Brad Williams had 2 for 21, Nathan Bracken 2 for 25 and all-rounder Ian Harvey who was unlucky to miss selection to the World Cup had 3 wickets for 2 runs with his penetrative seam bowling. Openers Greg Blewett and World Cup player Jimmy Maher had no difficulty in getting the runs for victory.
They played some neat strokes and none of the bowlers troubled them, as they raced to the victory target- 66- for no loss. Each making 28 apiece.
More humiliation was heaped on the Sri Lankans when they were forced to play an exhibition match to please the spectators who had paid to watch the match.
Sri Lanka innings
S.Jayasuriya c Campbell b Williams 5 A.Gunawardene run out 0 H.Tillakartne c & b Harvey 11 A.De Silva c & b Williams 9 M.Jayawardene c Hussey b Bracken 0 K.Sangakkara c Lehmann b Bracken 6 R.Arnold c Campbell b Harvey 1 B.Fernando not out 3 P.Nissanka c Campbell b Harvey 0 D.Fernando b Hauritz 0 P.Gunaratne c Harvey b Lehmann 4 Extras (b-2 lb-7 w-17) 26 Total (all out, 25.0 overs) 65 Fall of wickets: 1-14 2-16 3-41 4-42 5-50 6-54 7-59 8-59 9-60 Bowling: Williams 8-1-21-2 (w-10), Bracken 8-1-25-2 (w-6), Harvey 4-3-2-3 (w-1), Hauritz 4-2-7-1, Lehmann 1-0-1-1. Australia A innings
G.Blewett not out 28 J.Maher not out 28 Extras (lb-3 w-3 nb-4) 10 Total (for no wickets, 11.5 overs) 66 Fall of wickets: none. Did not bat: D.Lehmann, M.Clarke, I.Harvey, M.Hussey, A.Symonds, R.Campbell, N.Hauritz, N.Bracken, B.Williams. Bowling: Nissanka 4-0-18-0 (nb-2, w-1), B.Fernando 2-0-11-0 (nb-1), D.Fernando 3.5-1-22-0 (nb-1, w-2), Gunaratne 2-0-12-0. Result: Australia A won by 10 wickets.
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