Poor bowling led to Lanka’s unbelievable defeat
Malinga, Kulasekera the chief offenders:
In one of the most amazing games seen in one-day cricket, India came
back from the dead to beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets and extend their
stay in Australia in a Commonwealth Bank Tri series game, under lights
at the Bellerive Oval on Tuesday.
Helped by a turbo-charged century - 133 not out in 86 balls by right
hander Virat Kholi, India kept their hopes alive of figuring in the best
of three finals against Australia starting on March
Going into this game the Indians were down, but yet not out. And when
Sri Lanka bashed them to make 320 for 5 with centuries from Tillakaratne
Dilshan 160 not out and Kumar Sangakkara 105, it looked as though the
World Cup champions would have to take the next flighthome.
But the Lankans did not bargain for a whirlwind knock by Kholi. Kholi
just took the Sri Lankan attack by the scruff of its neck and wrung it
to all corners of the Oval and over it as well with arrogance.
When the game began, Sri Lanka was sitting pretty with 15 points to
India’s 10 and a tie, a no decision or a win was going to put Sri Lanka
into the finals. And after having beaten India earlier, Lankans took the
India had a tough ask. They had to beat Sri Lanka and in addition
obtain a bonus point to stay alive. That they achieved both, was great
credit to their resilience and in achieving this proved that they were
worthy World Cup Champions in this style of game.
After Sri Lanka made 320 for 5 in 50, India had to get 321 in 40
overs to obtain the bonus point and win which would give them 5 points
and bring them on equal points with Sri Lanka on 15.
The magnificent centuries made by Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kuma
Sangakkara and who were also involved in a record stand for the second
wicket, was finally of no significance as Sri Lanka lost and Virat Kholi
took centre stage. The manner in which the Indian batsmen set about
their task, it was obvious that they had a game plan. And they set about
executing that game plan very intelligently. First it was Virender
Sehwag 30 in
16 balls, Sachin Tendulkar 39 in 30, Gautam Gambhir 63 in 64 and then
Virat Kholi 133 in 86 and Suresh Raina 40 in 24 to stun the Lankans.
Now that India achieved the impossible, Sri Lanka must now beat
Australia on Friday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to earn a best of
three final romp with the hosts. To get beat and the Lankans will make
an early departure. After the batsmen performed to capacity led by
Dilshan and Sangakara who were involved in a record stand of 200 for the
second wicket, the bowlers and fielders let the side down completely.
It was a sad sight watching the Lankan bowlers getting a beating
which could be best described as a public caning. Chief culprit was
slinger Lasith Malinga.
After getting the wicket of Tendulkar, when he came on again he was
He did not bowl to his field. In addition his Yorkers were directed
here, there and everywhere. He was just ordinary and he deserves the
hammering he got conceding 96 in 7.1 overs. Never has he been treated so
The usually economical Nuwan Kulasekera too took a thrashing going
for 71 in 8 overs. In the circumstances there was nothing that skipper
Mahela Jayawardena could do.
Jayawardena was charge sheeted for delaying the bowling power plays
and persisting with Lasith Malinga.The skipper said that Malinga becomes
more effective when the ball gets older and he begins to reverse swing.
But this time round, Malinga was just off colour.
It is easy for critics to criticize after the game. One has to be a
captain to know what it is.
The captain can tell and show. It all depends on how the players
perform. Once a game is lost it is the skipper who has to cop the blame.
Jayawardena’s captaincy has been top class. In fact the knowledgeable
here talk of his captaincy being better than that of Australia’s Michael
Clarke and India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni. So it is unfair to single him
out for Sri Lanka’s defeat. Hobart,Tuesday