Saturday, July 26, 2008

Colombo Collapse: Muralitharan and Mendis strip India bare

By John Cheeran
India lost the first Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo by an innings and 239 runs on Saturday, on the fourth day of the match.
Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka always have been formidable opponents but Indian batting's inability to offer even token resistance to spinners Muttaih Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis and take the match into the final day is total disgrace. And that includes celebrated men such as Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. It is a pity that in the first innings almost all of the front line batsmen got onto a decent start but none succeeded in playing a big innings, without which you cannot survive in Test cricket.
In fact in the Indian first innings, it was the last wicket partnership between VVS Laxman and Ishant Sharma that emerged as the biggest in terms of the number of balls played. So there were some good balls sent down by Muralitharan and Mendis but lack of application played a significant role in Indian batting's failure.
You go to South Africa, you struggle against pace.
You go to Sri Lanka, you struggle against spin, a diet as staple as rice and curry for an Indian.
India is the economic engine of world cricket, there is no doubt on that. But do we have quality batsmen and bowlers who can perform on all sorts of wickets and all sorts of climes?
Yes, winning the toss would have held its own advantages on tracks such as in Colombo but can't we expect some good old hard grind at the wicket from some of India's famed batsmen?
I know that it was not Tendulkar alone who failed with bat, but his failure to rise above the ruins once again will make his eventual tally of runs in Test cricket less brighter.
So the wait goes on for another moment of record as Indian cricket covers its shame with the fig leaf of Twenty20.

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