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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sri Lanka solid in reply - 2nd Day at Motera 2009

Rahul Dravid mentioned during the post-match conference on the first day that India had to score minimum 100 more runs to be in a dominant position. Alas, he could not add even a single run to his overnight score. The team could hardly add 40 runs more. This was a par score, not a great one.

The bowling had to take charge for India and ensure that the SriLankans do not run away with the match. The bowlers contained the batsmen to around 4 runs per over and must have felt happy - for this would have been a good performance on a flat track in ODIs. Not in test matches though. With just one wicket to show till lunch time, the zing in the team seemed to have gone off. The bowlers, in fact, receovered and did well after tea to take the two wickets and reduce the run-rate from 4.5 to 4.0.

Dilshan played an innings very similar to what MS Dhoni played on the first day. He hit the poor balls for boundaries and rotated the strike to ensure that the left-right combination was in play. This did not allow the bowling to settle down. His 5th century this year has shown that he has come of age, as a batsman. After the fall of 2 quick wickets, Samaraweera and Jayawardene ensured that there wouldnt be any further collapse - they took their time to gauge the pitch and score runs. This partnership is very crucial as there is not much of specialist batting left after these players.

Overall, the Indian bowlers are not in good form. Zaheer played matches for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy but not with great success. He showed glimpses of his form when he managed to get the 2 wickets of Dilshan and Sangakkara but it was a bit late for the Indian team. Ishant Sharma was average in the ODI series (in fact he did not play the latter half at all). Harbhajan showed signs of returning to form but not of test-class - he needs to be rested or rotated depending on the way you want to call it. Pragyan Ojha is a much better bowler any day. Amit Mishra has had no match practice for the last few weeks - he has been sitting on the boundary line for so long that he might have forgotten how to bowl long spells and take wickets. This is the bowling 'attack' that MSD has in his arsenal to take advantage of the 400+ score. The fielding also hasnt been of any help either - regular misfields resulted in boundaries, increasing the pressure on the bowlers.

The Sri Lankan team would look at a lead of 100 to 150 on the 3rd day and put pressure on the Indians. Early strikes in the morning will help the Indians get back into the match - the new ball will be available after 10 overs. Time is not a matter of concern at all. India's advantage has been definitely negated in 1 day. Unless the Indians can come out in the 2nd innings and bat like their statistics show.

Overall, the session wins stand at 3-3, thus justifying the status of the match which is at a balance.

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