Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Twists and turns at Brabourne

By John Cheeran
At the end of the first day of the third and final Test at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, both India and Sri Lanka have reasons to be satisfied. It was an engrossing day, events doing justice to the ambiguities of Test cricket in full measure.
Of course, Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara finally won the toss. But he has an arduous task ahead of him to win the Test.
Sri Lanka has come up with an impressive first day score, amply aided by the belligerent batting of Tillakratne Dilshan (109 off 160 balls) and a sensible effort from all rounder Angelo Mathews. Sri Lankan openers gave their side an impressive start. But to India's credit, spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha ensured that Sri Lankan batsmen did not think in terms of a total bordering on 500.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, however, will be a worried man. Odds are stacked against India. If Indian spinners can trouble the likes of Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene on Day One, the world's highest wicket-taker Muttaiah Muralitharan should be able to redeem his reputation on Indian soil. And consider that Indian batsmen will have the honour of playing the fourth innings. It is needless to say that India will have to play its first innings big, and in that opener Murali Vijay will have a huge role to play. Murali, who is filling in the leave vacancy of Gautam Gambhir just as he did in his debut Test against Australians in Nagpur earlier, has an opportunity to confound the national selectors.
For all that, twists and turns in this Test have just begun.

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