Let me say this, I am being honest here. I never thought India would win more than a couple of matches let alone the series. I thought, Jayasuriya, Jaywardene and Murali will have Indians for barbecue and beer. “Help yourself” no limits barred were on the menu on this buffet. But then I did not take Dhoni’s reputation of crumpling the past under his feet and make another huge stride in his campaign of wining good matches and contributing in more ways than just the bat. The next task would b winning a final of a triangular or some other big tournament away from home. Dhoni is on his way to be the best captain India has seen. It is a big thing to say but then I can afford to say this; here it is “My point of view®”
Aye aye Captain.
He is amazing. A clout is certainly growing with Dhoni in the centre of it all. You hear Aussie commentators, especially Ian Chappell saying how a Captains psyche becomes the teams psyche. One can see two examples here, one of Dhoni and then of Peitersen, though, I regard Pietersen as a top quality stroke player, foolish batsman and an atrocious fielder. Then third example could be, of Graeme Smith. But I think Smith would love to have more options in bowling department, namely a spinner. SAfs are you listening? Lets get back to Dhoni. He has taken Indian cricket followers by storm. We have seen people come in play well and then show some panache. He came in loads of panache and style. It was Paki President Musharaff go gaga over his locks. Then came in Dhoni the chunk hitter. He can turn ot on in the slog overs and score in double quick time.His stroke play is limited, no doubt, I mean I don’t expect a flowing cover drive all along the carpet from Dhoni. But he is born to bludgeon it back over the bowlers head. Since age,form and supreme fitness are all playing part in Dhoni’s much deserved success. He is performing so in a sense he is not just there to make plans and strategies; he is a critical part of the strategy. He is the engine and the steering wheel of this made in India cricket team.
Great captains are damn lucky. Dhoni won the toss, a big help in negating Mendis-Murali threat, there was no way India can win chasing in the lights. Yuvraj was turning it a square, Murali could have turned it the breadth of the pitch.
Indians started cautiously, each failing innings I am getting more depressed for Gambhir, He is in such a good form, he has to convert starts into big runs. The openers slot is still wide open in the sense that, Jaffer is there in test. Jaffers known for big centuries in domestic cricket. In other formats, namely ODI and T-20 there s Uthhappa who is not picked from some weird reason, not forget the Phantom of Sehwag. Anyways Gambhir Persished soon, Virat Kohli was looking good made a good 50. He was then beaten for pace and played on to the stumps. He wasn’t exactly tested. I mean he was gifted leg side deliveries and there wasn’t much happening there besides boundaries. Yuvraj holed out, He is heavy a torrid time. He is way off the boil I don’t know it is the knee that’s troubling him. He got out without scoring. I think he should stared fielding at backward point again. You know couple of sharp catches, a run out and a few saves can turn the bad times in no mean time. I mean Yuvraj would have loved the platform Dhoni and Raina had made for him. He couldn’t have done much coz he was dismissed quickly giving Vaas his 400 ODI wicket. Dhoni and Raina then stabilized and then kept adding moment through out the middle overs and kept Murali and Mendis at bay. The scored at run a ball and India could have been in much better position had each not got out at the time they got out. Indians lost last seven wickets for 30-35 runs or so. Rains chipped one in the air and Dhoni holed out, seemingly looking tired. The reset of them just came and went without rhyme or reason. India packed 258. A very good total, they may be 30- runs short but very competitive.
Lankan reply or should it be Jayasuriya’s reply to the Indian total? Their first wicket fell around 30, the opener fell for a naught. How ordinary is that? Indian bowlers are all over Lankans. Sangakarra only too good to be true, played on to Munaf. It is good to see Munaf among wickets. I think he can improve on the length, the line is impeccable though. A couple of more wickets and then Harbhajan was licking his lips. Indian have decoded Sri Lanka formula, bat first, get decent score, anything above 220 and then let Murali do the rest. This strategy works nine out of ten times, lets just say this was the tenth turn after nine successive campaigns. Jayasuriya’s edge of the bat is increasingly growing. It is creditable to Jaysuriya, that he has struck 11 centuries after age of 35. I bet at least 6 of them against India. I wonder why are his performance biased in and around the subcontinent?
Anyways he played against the spin, Raina caught a very good catch. The way Indians field not only show their physical preparation, taking good catches and making run outs makes a team look really good. Jaywardene undermined his own abilities. 16 of 40 balls, chasing a decent total aint a way. He was planning to take it to last ten overs, again getting regimented on a plan without any other plan to fall back on. A swift throw saw him run out. Sri Lanka four down, but metaphorically all said and done because three of the four wickets were named Jayasuriya, Sangakarra, Jayawardene. Indians would have felt match is in pocket, rest of the two wickets were Dilshan and Kapugudera, both woefully out of form, Lankans were dead and buried. Thushara, was perhaps symbolic of how an oil lamp ends with a flicker at the end. I thought he should have come up the order but then Indian won the series after being dead and buried in test series,against the same bowling attack.
Jaywardene the losing Captain.
Jaywardene stomach would have churned after loosing the toss, perhaps he himself got many things to think about right now so he can take off his mind and start thinking cricket There is a scope of improvement though. The toss is so important that if the captain gets his call right, the match is in the pocket. I think West Indies and Sri Lanka offer some of the most partisan and ordinary pitches in the world, low turners. Not good for cricket. Indian pitches are not to great too, but the pitches here are not that too biased as the pitches in the Emerald Isle. Did you see Yuvraj turn the ball square? Well Jayawardene as got a big correction, all the hype of Asian Ashes are down the drain. He is too good for that,he adapted to very well to the new role as a captain. He has to realize that cricket doesnt allow to get to ahead off yourself and your words will come to haunt you before you finish winking your eyes.
Sweeping mistakes under the magic carpet of a Series win.
India won the fourth match but if Lankans would have seized intitative (read Jayasuriya scoring 140+ ) then these mistake would have come to haunt big time.Indians lost Raina and Dhoni back to back and Indian innings folded before they reached the pavilion and changed.
So one set batsman has to see the end of the innings come what may.
Where is the support/flourish at the end?
Bowling short to Jayasuriya wont pay any dividends, ever.
Why was mid off kept back when Harbhajan is turning it square and score read Lankans Six down?
Wht wasn’t there slip to Harbhajan when Mendis was bowling?
I hope coach and Captain have similar puzzles in their diaries.
Me gearing up for Aussies coming to India.