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Classy Innings in Asian Cricket : India vs. Sri Lanka

November 18, 2009

Zee Tv’s been advertising the Sri Lanka India series with the tag line: “the two great Asian teams face off” and just into game 1, it’s lived up to hype.

Batting’s the name of the game so far with India winning the toss and electing to bat on a track prime for the likes of Tendulkar and Sehwag. But they lost 4 quick wickets beginning with Gautam Gambhir who opened with just 1 run off 10 balls. Very disappointing, because having elected to bat, it’s the openers responsibility to take initiative of controlling the game early on, and with Sehwag at the other end, things looked positive in the first two overs. But an amateur mistake cost Gambhir when he played a shot leaving his bat seemingly miles away form his pad. First rule of defensive batting in a supporting role: keep your bat close to your pads! Gambhir was supposed to be Sehwag’s support and when left handed Welegedara pitched a fair in-swinger (out-swinger to lefty Gambhir) he should have known better than keep his bat so far away. (In Gambhir’s defense though, Walegadara’s left handed bowling to his left handed batting is difficult to face so early in the attack).

No excuses for Sehwag though. It was clear from the onset he was in ODI mode. Generating 16 runs off 11 balls was a treat in the first 3 overs, but did little good for the team. Sehwag failed to read Walegadara’s in-swing keeping his bat prepared for a straight ball, making him plum for the LBW picking. With both openers out, the match was set for Tendulkar as the Master batsman and Dravid as the “Wall” to take center stage. But the partnership fell short of expectations when Sachin, like  Sehwag seemed to be in ODI form, smashing a boundary on the first ball, but getting out 2 balls later when Walegadara struck again. Laxman fell for a duck thereafter but Dravid, in classic form was a God send coming in with India at 4 for 32.

Rahul Dravid came in & did what he does best: be the “Wall”. I realized in this match, he’s the most composed batsman in the world. And like any great form of art, be it music, theatre, painting or another sport, Dravid slows down time with his work. He bats like there’s an eternity at hand and as if wickets simply haven’t fallen. He operates beyond circumstances with a precise composure to demonstrate a maturity that a lot of batsman just lack. And that value is realized in test matches where time is secondary to holding ones wicket. Dravid didn’t once hold his bat in an aggressive position, it was mostly downward, playing each ball safely with much needed control. He didn’t go out of his way to smash any ball, but beautifully directed the pace of key balls into gaps, or nudged them just enough to get multiple runs when it was safe to do so. I think Dravid is the most conservatively effective batsman in the game today. Inzamam ul-Haq’s early days come to mind as someone comparable. You can never go wrong with a text book batsmen in test cricket: Dravid’s footwork is consistently flawless, his bat is always close to the pads and his eyes are never off the ball. It’s no wonder he led the team to a record breaking comeback making 177 off 261 bringing India to the very respectable total of 476.

Day two: knowing that to win the match Sri Lanka would need a high run rate, opener Dilshan stepped up to bat a beautiful 112 off 133, (wonderful batting acceptable for even an ODI). His contribution was key in the same way Dravid’s was to ensuring Sri Lanka maintain wickets, while keeping the run rate up. Also, Dhoni made some basic mistakes that enhanced Sri Lanka’s game. Dhoni brought in spinner Harbhajan much too early into the attack. In about the 6th over, Dhoni broke the rhythm of his fast bowlers by unorthodoxly having Harbhajan bowl. Strike bowlers play at least 10-15+ overs and spinners normally aren’t used to or are effective with newer balls because they don’t get spin. So bringing in a spinner was an unnecessary, and costly move that allowed Sri Lanka to open up their batting which settled into a good rhythm to chalk up a very nice run rate. Jaywardene in particular is playing one of the most beautiful centuries i’ve seen in awhile.

So to continue on and win this, Sri Lanka should play the entire day and chalk up a strong total of roughly 500+ runs, then declare and try to clean out India in day 4. If India wants to win from hre on out, they should focus squarely on better wicket taking. Harbhajan should be used later in the overs and Zaheer’s aggressiveness should continue to take more wickets. India should have bowled Sri Lanka for a maximum of 475, but Sri Lanka isn’t falling before that, they’re already at a magnificent 435-5. So India should be looking for solid opening in their next innings, and a total of at least 400+ again, while still leaving themselves enough time to get Sri Lanka all out. Whichever way this goes though, i think we’re in for some classy innings   🙂

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6 comments

  1. Indians have been thoroughly drubbed by their Asian arch rivals specifically due to the masterclass of Jaywardene duo and flattening of the bowling attack by Dilshan.

    Considering the variety in bowling attack of Srilankan team they have a good chance of sealing the victory in first test match !

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  2. […] of the best batsmen in the game who have mastered this don’t even play ODI’s anymore, like Rahul Dravid. Case in point, most teams don’t have players who specialize in Test, Dravid is actually a […]

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    • hi i not have any freinds on gmail show you will become my friend as i am also great fan of cricket as icant miss any match of india

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  3. its too interesting

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  4. a cricket gamegreat

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  5. […] Dravid: RIGHT ON: The best batsman in this lineup, hands down. Dravid’s the most classy, consistent, and solid batsman any team could hope for in a Test matc…. A man who will never let you down, it’s guys like him to keep decent players like Virender […]

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