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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Cricket: Yesterday's Triangular Series Final v. Sri Lanka

Been there, lost that
India's performance in the finals brings a sense of deja vu. It's a story of been there and lost that. This is the umpteenth time India has lost after reaching the final.

Sri Lanka's batting in the middle overs
Our bowling and fielding let us down. Dropped catches and the inability of the spinners to get the Sri Lankan middle order out after having them 4 down for 122 in 26 overs. The fifth wicket partnership of 125 runs between Jayawardena and Arnold helped Sri Lanka to put up a commanding score of 281 in their 50 overs.

Sri Lanka's spinners bowled well
Sri Lankan spinners Muralitharan and Chandana snapped four wickets between them giving less than four runs per over while Kumble had a bad day and went for 64 runs of his 10 overs and Harbhajan bowled tight to concede only 40 runs in his stipulated 10 overs, but was unable to take a wicket and force a breakthrough in the Sri Lankan middle order.

Tale of dropped catches and run outs
Wicket-keeper Dhoni dropped two crucial catches, while the Sri Lankans grabbed two wickets as run outs. Rahul Dravid was unlucky to be run out, it was misjudgement on his part and Kaif cannot be blamed. Harbhajan's was a comical run-out. He kept on looking at the ball going toward the short third man fielder behind the wicket-keeper, and also ran half-way down the pitch instead of waiting for Kaif's call. Murali's spin got the better of Irfan's rush of blood to clobber a six after getting beaten for three balls. Yuvraj played well for his 42 before throwing away his wicket of the first lofted sweep shot that he played against Chandana.

Saurav Ganguly fails again, so what's new?
Saurav Ganguly was expected to fail, which he did.
The selectors need to decide on how many more chances do they want to give Saurav Ganguly to fail before dropping him? He did reach a personal milestone of completing 10,000 ODI runs in one of the earlier matches, and that was a laboured effort of 51 runs in 100 balls. Ganguly is no longer the God of off-side batting or for that matter of any type of batting. The selectors need to decide about Ganguly's position in the team. On the basis of his performance does he deserve a chance? It's a question to be answered by the selectors.

VVS needs to perform or become a 'test match' only player
VVS Laxman fails time and again and that is a waste of opportunity for a player of great class. Laxman needs to be given a few more chances or else needs to be told that he's a specialist test batsman and won't be considered for ODI matches.

Start of the season - Good luck, India
It's the beginning of the season and let India prove that Team India is not only about Sehwag and Rahul Dravid. There are nine other guys and all of them can play together and win together. Good luck India.

Pros for India:
- Rahul Dravid leading for the front by example.
Well played, Rahul.
He should be persisted as the Captain of India.

Cons for India:
- Inability of our players to give all-round performances.
Batting comes good, the bowling fails.
Bowling clicks and the fielders drop catches.

Note for Selectors: Please retain Rahul Dravid as the captain of India.
Even though India lost, Rahul Dravid led from the front by example, scoring three half centuries in five matches and fighting hard. Not like Ganguly who has rarely played to put up even an average score when the team needs it.

India lost to a better team on the day and Sri Lanka having defeated India thrice in as many matches were deserving winners of the Indian Oil Cup.

Read the complete scorecard of the India v. Sri Lanka Indian Oil Triangular Series ODI (d/n) final played at the R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Tue., Aug. 09, 2005.

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