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Focus on Murali

Needs two more wickets to hug World record:

Sri Lanka will be up against a rejuvenated Indian batting line as well as the unpredictable weather as they hope to bounce back when the second one day international starts at the R. Premadasa Stadium under lights today.

The Lankans found the Indian batting too hot to handle as their total of 246 runs was easily overtaken in the opening game of the five match series worked off at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium on Wednesday.

With the weather pattern in Colombo taking a dramatic change during the last couple of days Sri Lanka will need to really be at their best performance to level the series.

There is of course a reserve day in case a minimum of 25 overs per side cannot be completed which will make things even more tough for the two teams.

Sri Lanka’s main concern will be their bowling attack which was made to look pretty ordinary by the Indian batsmen despite the absence of dashing opener Virender Sehwag.

Even then spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan is at the threshold of another World record and requires just two more scalps to overhaul former Pakistan seamer Wasim Akram’s tally of 502 wickets in one day internationals.

In addition the champion off spinner needs just another solitary wicket to become the country’s highest wicket taker against India.

Muralitharan has now captured 70 wickets against India from 58 one day internationals and is well set to beat the record held by Chaminda Vaas.

However the rest of the Sri Lankan bowlers will need to come out with an improved performance as the Indian batsmen have now mastered the art of playing pace and spin with equal brilliance. This was quite evident in the first one dayer where mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis went through wicketless for the first time against India.

This was a major setback considering the fact that not long ago Mendis was able to mesmerise the Indians with career best figures during the last Asia Cup final in Karachi.

In the batting department Sanath Jayasuriya will be hoping to continue his excellent form with another major contribution.

His century in the first one dayer was in vain as the middle order failed to capitalise from the solid start.

Jayasuriya is now set to create another piece of history having extended his record for most centuries against India in one day internationals to seven while equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s tally.

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