Wednesday, November 18, 2009

India struggles to rein in Sri Lanka

By John Cheeran
Now, this game is slipping away from India's hands.
With 165 runs ahead and both Jayawardenes (Mahela 204 not out and Prasanna 84 not out) determined to frustrate Indian bowlers, Sri Lanka is in a position to dictate terms to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Indian bowling, both spin and pace, stands exposed thanks to the diligent batting and a passive pitch.
On the fourth day, Sri Lanka look well set to extend their lead well beyond 250, if not to a daunting 300.
There is little doubt that India is getting cooked in the heat.
Indian batsmen will have to ensure in the second innings that they do not repeat the silly mistakes committed during the first essay.
Cockiness alone will not ensure that India will escape from Ahmedabad with an honourable draw.
And to consider that, impatience and impertinence of the top order in the first session is likely to lead to India's downfall is a humbling thought.
Skipper Dhoni cannot expect anything extraordinary from his bowlers now and the responsibility of saving India squarely rests on the shoulders of Virender Sehwag, Gautam gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. Don’t expect Rahul Dravid to fight it out one more time.
More than the pitch and Muttaiah Muralitharan, the pressure of overcoming the huge Lankan lead will test the temperament of the best among the Indian batting lineup, if they get a chance to bat on Thursday afternoon.
It’s a long road ahead.

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