Wednesday, August 13, 2008

India's Test series loss in Sri Lanka: Looking for reasons

By John Cheeran
It is very difficult to get excited over a Test series against Sri Lanka, though they are former world champions much like us.
Sri Lanka is one of the strongest cricket sides and with the introduction of freak spin bowler Ajantha Mendis, the island nation has strengthened its bowling.
Still none had foreseen India’s plight in Lanka. India lost the Test series 1-2 and reason for the defeat is quite apparent this time. Indian middle order batting collapsed against quality spin attack of Mendis and Muttaih Muralitharan.
Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly have served Indian cricket with distinction but the reality is that they are struggling to live up to their past glory. Even VVS Laxman follows a similar trajectory, though a shade better.
Indians are traditionally known to tackle spin better. But Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly fell cheaply without fully comprehending the bewildering variety of balls sent down by Mendis.
While agreeing with skipper Anil Kumble that middle order’s failure to play long innings was the reason for Test series loss, it has to be said that any nation aspiring for greatness and dominance should constantly able to throw up young talent. How come the BCCI not able to dig out gems such as a Mendis? What happened to our own big hope Piyush Chawla?
It must be pointed out that Indian cricket never sheds its enigmatic ways. For long Indian team’s bane was poor start at the top of their innings. It was said that Indian middle order always had to struggle to resuscitate the innings as the openers go so early. In Sri Lanka, openers – Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir – gave the side roaring starts but, alas, the middle was shell shocked by a Lankan army boy.

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