Monday, August 25, 2008

Dhoni upstages Jayawardene as India takes lead

By John Cheeran
So Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men displayed the verve and nerve to defeat the World Cup runners up for the second time in a row.
This is India’s team for the future, and it is heartening to note that Dhoni has some control over the proceedings with a firm grip on his bat.
Sunday’s result has given India the lead.
Its pacers are getting them early wickets and slowly Ajantha Mendis’s shock value is dissipating. In the last two matches, one might see an equal fight for supremacy between India and Sri Lanka.
But for all that, what has struck me during the game is that India does not have a classy batsman at the moment in the mould of Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene.
After losing six wickets for 59, Mahela did not lose faith in him, and in cricket’s potential to throw up intriguing results. Mahela carried on bravely, and might have almost pulled off a daring win, if did not get out in the final overs.
Now who does such a role for India in the current squad?
Yes, Dhoni and Suresh Raina stitched the holes in Indian innings rather quickly, but the composure during a chase when you are comforted by the wagging of a long tail is something that should be admired.
Everyone has commented about the sunset of Indian batting as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman watch their shadows lengthening.
They should go.
That is certain, and the coming series against Australia will be a test of their skills to rediscover themselves.
But the question remains -- are Badrinaths, Rohit Sharmas and Rainas up to the challenge of becoming the backbone of Indian batting?

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