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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sri Lanka at the World Cup

Sri Lanka has picked up its pieces after the 1-6 drubbing it received from the Indians. Tom Moody has done a good job in getting in fresh blood, even while motivating the seniors to provide their best. They have a good core that is capable of meeting the best of best. Most of the ex-players have been supporting Sri Lanka to reach the semi-finals atleast. Lets see why that is so.

Mahela Jayawardene has been struggling with the bat even while doing a great job as the captain. He must find ways to motivate his team, without being able to personally lead the way.

Kumara Sangakkara is the batting star of the team for some years now. He can literally walk into any World eleven in ODIs for his consistent display behind and in front of the stumps. If the opposition team get his wicket (and that of Jayasuriya) early, they can be relieved that Sri Lanka will not run away with the match.

Sanath Jayasuriya is the senior pro, chugging away still. He has shown that he is not there just on past laurels alone. Of late, he has been bowling the last overs for Sri Lanka in tight situations and winning it for them. A brilliant fielder to cap it all - Will it be his tournament?

Upul Tharanga has come along to be a steady partner for Jayasuriya at the top. Has not displayed his skills on neutral venues where the ball does talk.

Marvan Atapattu has now stepped down the order to shore the batting. He is like Rahul Dravid for India, steady batsman in a lineup containing stroke-makers.

Tillekaratne Dilshan - great fielder, can bowl a decent spell of 4-5 overs, can bat a bit. Of late, has been rescuing the team from precarious situations.

Russell Arnold doesnt look like he will get many chances, but is a good player to turn to in case of crisis.

Chamara Silva scored his first century in India recently. Will again mostly be on the sidelines.

Muthaiah Muralitharan. Is anything to be said of this great bowler? Any team that plays Sri Lanka will have one major objective in mind while batting - see the 10 overs of Murali out without losing many wickets, even if it means just scoring 40-50 runs of his spell. That shows his strength.

Chaminda Vaas starred in the last World Cup with his bagful of wickets, including a first-over hat-trick. His skills seem to have declined in the last 4 years, but still can be a handful with the ball and bat.

Lalith Malinga is the unknown factor in SriLankan bowling lineup. Batsmen find it difficult to sight the ball during delivery. His yorkers at the death can be quite a handful for opposition batsmen.

Dilahara Fernando looks to be the third seamer in the eleven for most of the matches. Again, he has shown traces of decline in his form, compared to the earlier years.

Malinga Bandara has improved his ODI bowling, though he was considered to be a test special. Sri Lanka would go with 2 specialist spinners and hence Bandara would get into the team.

Pervez Maharoof would be the ideal all-rounder - can hit the big shots, bowls good line and length, good fielder. But, where would he play? Very unlikely to be in the starting lineup, except on pitches that offer a bit off the pitch.

Nuwan Kulasekara has been probably picked for the experience. Do not expect him to get any game, except against the minnows maybe.
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