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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

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Indians will miss skipper Dhoni’s influence:

Lankans out to continue winning run

The Sri Lankan cricketers, who thrashed the daylights out of the Australians in Sydney, will take the field against the Indians at the Gabba with the same ruthless approach in a Commonwealth Bank Tri series match, here today.

The Lankans were hard at practice at every opportunity and all players are fit and well and are rarin’ to have a go at the Indians who will be sans their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who has been forced to sit out a match for a slow over rate in the game against the Aussies at the Gabba on Sunday.

Dhoni’s absence will be greatly felt by the Indians because he has been a tower of strength, as skipper, wicket keeper and batsman. With his disciplined batting in the middle he has held the innings together and at times steered them to victory.

But that does mean that the Lankans should be complacent and take the Indians easy. They have some exciting players for this style of game and Dhoni’s absence might make them determined to make amends and do better.

Dhoni or no Dhoni the Lankans would not care less. They are now playing the cricket they are renowned for and led by example by Mahela Jayawardena are peaking at the right time and are determined to have another victory under their belts and make it to the best of three finals.

The Lankans will name the playing only after a look at the wicket. But indications that they will stick to the winning combination, that rocked and rolled over the Aussies to an 8 wicket defeat that would have been anathema to the home team.

Jayawardena who is a thinking captain, did the right thing in opting to open. It was his staying put at the wicket, that gave Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal the all important confidence to indulge in their natural stroke play and take the team to victory.

If the Lankans opt to bat first they must target a score of over 260. They have the batsmen in the captain, Dilshan, Sangakkara, Chandimal, Angelo Mathew, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thissara Perera and Farveez Mahroof to get the runs. They must attack the bowling mixing caution with aggression and the runs will come.

As the three senior batsmen Jayawardena, Sangakkara and Dilshan have a big responsibility to shoulder. It is said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going and these three batsmen are tough and ideally suited.

The Lankans have the bowlers who can stall the progress of the Indian batsmen. Seam bowlers, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Fraveez Mahroof, Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews together with left arm leg spinner Rangana Herath bemused and baffled the Aussie batsmen and lured them to their destruction. A repeat is required.

That was interesting was the wonderful comeback by all rounder Mahroof. Mahroof has been neglecting his immense talent for far too long. Now that he has come into the picture he must continue to perform and cement his place.

Sri Lanka’s fielding, especially on the ground was fantastic. The fielders attacked the ball and in so doing lured the batsmen and ran them out. The catching could have been better.

As for the Indians, they will want to put their defeat behind and come hard at the Sri Lankans. But the Lankans have the all round fire power to shoot down the Indians. Here’s hoping for another Sri Lanka convincing victory on their way to the best of three finals. Brisbane, Monday

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