INDIA VS SRI LANKA- THE ASIAN ASHES?

For various reasons, Test cricket between India and Sri Lanka is being called "Asian Ashes"

For various reasons, Test cricket between India and Sri Lanka is being called "Asian Ashes"

We have frequently discussed India’s emergence as a top Test team over the years, caused by many factors such as good utilisation of young talent, good captaincy and good team morale. Sri Lanka has also recently started playing competitive cricket at the highest level. Their recent successes are accredited to Jayawardene’s mature captaincy, batting form of main batsmen Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Jayasuria and the advent of awe inspiring talent in players like Malinga and Mendis. Pakistan, which was once a top team in Test cricket, is no longer considered a giant in Asia. Most people will agree what happened to India in the 1st Test was merely a wake up call and India fought back hard with a well deserved victory in the 2nd Test, although it was a fairly competitive match.

Recent contests between India and Sri Lanka have demonstrated why so much interest is generated when both these sides play. Historically contests between India and Pakistan were meant to draw enormous interest from cricket fans all around the world. However, now Pakistan has been replaced by Sri Lanka. The hype and reputation of India-Sri Lanka games are still not on the same level as Pakistan-India games, but what happens in the games themselves is very exciting and at times, nail biting. The main reason why this has started happening, is because both sides have some qualities which the other side does not have. Yet both teams are very similar in some respects.

India is going by the reputation of its “Big 4”, namely Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly. The names of these batsmen spread fear in the minds of even the most fearsome bowlers in the world. Going off statistics no one in the Sri Lankan side is as accomplished as Tendulkar and Dravid; however, Jayawardene and Sangakkara are great players in their own right who have the ability to outclass the best bowling attacks. In the bowling department Sri Lanka would appear to have the edge, albeit slightly as currently Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma are bowling better than Vaas or Prasad. Nevertheless, Vaas is very experienced and of course Murali is the most devastating spinner in Test cricket. Mendis is a unique talent whom the Indian batsmen are still trying to fathom.

With his express pace and express height, young Ishant has posed some problems for the Lankans

With his express pace and express height, young Ishant has posed some problems for the Lankans

The interesting aspect to this series has been that openers from both sides have outperformed the main middle order batsmen. No one could expect Gambhir and Sehwag to outscore the likes of Tendulkar and Dravid, yet both Indian openers have done so convincingly. From Sri Lanka’s point of view, Warnapura has been very level headed and mature- quite a revelation. Samaraweera, the late middle order batsman and by no means as reputable as Jayawardene or Sangakkara, has been Sri Lanka’s main batsman this series, averaging 104 so far.

Owing to a Mendis special India could only manage 249 on the board, which is not a good total on this track. This pitch does have something for everyone but now India will have to bowl out of their skins to restrict Sri Lanka under 300. The way Ishant and Zaheer have been bowling, there is a likelihood Sri Lanka will be dismissed under 300. This will make this match and this series even more exciting for the viewer. It must also be stressed that because this pitch has some assistance for spinners, Harbhajan Singh might prove useful to India’s plans because of his recent resurgence of form.

With 12 wickets so far at an average of 25, Harbhajan will be central to India's strategy in this final test

With 12 wickets so far at an average of 25, Harbhajan will be central to India's strategy in this final test

This series is not over yet, and what we have seen after the 1st day’s play suggests there might be some surprises in store. An indication of how competitive India-Sri Lanka has become is the fact that which direction this Test will go is impossible to predict. We might see Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Samaraweera help their team achieve an enviable total. At the same time it is equally likely Ishant Sharma and Zaheer might destroy the Sri Lankan top order and restrict Sri Lanka to a low score. Whatever happens, currently the idea that Pakistan-India matches are unique in terms of competitiveness is not well founded because of India’s rise and Pakistan’s fall in world cricket. So if you want to see two Asian Test giants battling it out, this is the series you need to watch.

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  1. #1 by JAVED A. KHAN on August 9, 2008 - 2:20 PM

    I won’t call India vs. Sri Lanka as “THE ASHES” because:

    1. Ashes rivalry between Australia and England goes back to 1882 and it is named after a satirical obituary published in English newspaper then after the match at The Oval in which Australia beat England on an English ground for the first time. Australia is known to be the land of convicts in the earlier centuries where the British convicts were sent in exile to Australia. In England it was the game of the Lords and was played by the so-called gentlemen and, for them losing the game of cricket at the hands of the convicts or sons of convicts was more than humiliation. Hence the obituary stated that English cricket had died, and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. England went back to Australia to win and regain The Ashes in the later years, But, now i.e., for the past few decades the series is being played after every two years and, there is no other country playing cricket with that spirit or with that regularity.

    2. If one consider The Ashes to be the result of a rivalry between the countries then the closest rivalry between the two nations that come to anyone’s mind is India vs. Pakistan or the least, between South Africa and the West Indies. But, definitely not India vs. Sri Lanka.

    Therefore, my views differ from that of the author. Although the author himself is not firm of his own opinion that he has expressed in this thread by placing a question mark at the caption, therefore, it would be worthwhile discussing the proposition whether this is The Ashes of the sub-continent?

    I also tend to disagree slightly about the reasons stated in Pakistan’s decline, there is no doubt that the current Pakistani team’s performance is proving that they are not the team they used to be before. But, its not just the players, there are a lot of other factors that are affecting their performance, starting from poor team selection to weak captaincy followed by weak coach and then there is chaos in administration and management. There is no one to lift the morale or the spirit of the players. It is just the morale and the spirit that is low but, there is no shortage of talent or skill among these players. One day they perform like Heroes, the next day they are zeros. They have been like this in the past but not against India and Sri Lanka.

    One must delve deeper into the stats to see how many times Pakistan has performed well against India and Sri Lanka (even against NZ) and then played extremely badly against the rest of the big test playing nations i.e. Australia, England, West Indies and SA. But, this current bunch is playing badly against India and SL on a regular basis because of poor leadership skills and the other reasons mentioned above.

  2. #2 by Amit. P on August 9, 2008 - 5:44 PM

    I think “Ashes” is the buzzword to draw attention, and in recent time whenever india plays with aus or pak we hear lot ab’t this “new ashes” or “sub-continent ashes”. It is used totally as marketing purpose. India-pak rivalry has its own stand in cricketing history and we dont need “ashes” tag to it. Though in recent time this rivalry is not sparking much curiosity .. but i am sure in coming days it will again reach the same level as before.
    Having said that, this test series has drawn lots of attention. Mainly because of Mendis domination on indian batsmen … and it will go down in history as well. Remove mendis factor as i said before in earlier thread .. then this series was totally dull. And most importantly for SL they have found a new star like jayasurya or murli … and he brings a new life in SLankan cricket.

    Now the current match is tilted much in favor of SL and if SL takes a lead of around 70 80 runs then it will be hard for struggling indian batsmen to post a challenging total for the fourth inning. They are even struggling for 300 in first inning …. cant think what score they will post in second inning.

  3. #3 by Pawan on August 9, 2008 - 10:33 PM

    I apologize to all the LS bloggers for not blogging in last few days. I probably won’t be able to write for coming week as well due to my strenous work committments. I promise to be back soon and with a bang.

    Special thanks to the three musketeers – Khansahab, Javed and Awas for dedicating three consecutive threads, regarding Mendis, Method in madness – Sehwag and now this new Ashes thread. It is simply stunning to see your passion for Asian cricket even though Pakistan team isn’t involved in the test series.

    Please keep writing and blogging, all the LS bloggers. This is a great site to share your thoughts.

    Regarding the ongoing match between Sl and Ind – I sincerely wish India loose this match because they deserve it. Only a bunch of guys performing is not the way to success. They have slipped way below the standard this series. The batting, especially the middle order has become a joke. Big three should retire now. Kumble is also not going good. Its terrible times for Indian cricket. Only a big loss in 3rd test would help cleanse the mess in the team. So Indian fans, pray that we loose by the biggest margin.

  4. #4 by JAVED A. KHAN on August 9, 2008 - 11:48 PM

    LOL Pawan

    You are thinking in the same way as some of us were during the Kitply Cup that Pakistan should lose this cup so that there are major changes in the team, but that didn’t happen and the rogue & weak players continue to play especially the captain.

    Amit

    I haven’t seen anything extremely dangerous in Mendis’s bowling (or, should I say MENDAS or MENDUS like Pra Waqqa? Thank God he is not calling him Menduk. Probably he might if he bowls someone on a duck. Menduck got a V-cut.) to me that Son of Gun-ner bowls straightforward good length deliveries, sometimes he beats them in the flight and sometimes he deceives them in line. There isn’t much turn in his deliveries like Shane Warne or Murali’s doosra. I would like to see him playing against other better opposition and then say for sure that he is in that league of Shane Warne.

    I have seen Tendulkar, Sehwag and even Gambhir showing sporadic comfort in playing against him but, they all got out because of some kinda phobia they have developed – the Mendis hype – or may be there is nothing more than that they can tell us. Mark my word, Mendis will soon be struggling.

    Like I have said in the other thread that a 50-60 run lead would put a lot of pressure on the Indians and Amit is also airing the same concern. I can say that the match is very much in favour of SL now and India’s chances of losing the match are more. Unless two of their batsmen score centuries and pull them out of the woods, that is not likely to happen with Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman showing such poor form. May the Rain Gods be with them.

  5. #5 by JAVED A. KHAN on August 10, 2008 - 11:20 AM

    The writing is on the wall, Loud & Clear.

    With Ganguly’s departure at this stage and Tendulkar as well as Laxman not well and Prithiv Patel as the night watchman walked in and walked out just like that. I doubt India can convert this deficit into a substantial lead after being 109 for 4. Here comes Tendulkar.

    Ganguly’s LBW dismissal was reviewed upon his request and the third umpire didn’t change the field umpire’s decision, although when the ball had impacted on his pad so low it was almost 3 meters away from the stumps. When the hawk-eye was shown the ball was barely kissing the bails. In my opinion it was a bit harsh on Ganguly because hawk-eye is mere guidance and not a definite thing. Any doubt should go in favour of the batsman. That almost 3 meters stretch should have been enough for the third umpire to assume that the ball could have bounced upwards – even though it had hit very low on the pad. Earlier after he was dropped on 8 in the slips by Jayawardene of Murali, he decided to go a bit aggressive by jumping down the crease and lofting Murali for a six. But, that didn’t last long, I think Ganguly’s career is over now.

    Kumble should have come in as a night watchman instead of sending Patel. Thats poor captaincy. Dravid and Tendulkar are on the crease at the moment the duo have in the past pulled India out of the woods on numerous occasions but this is a different situation, more than anything else it is the morale that is lacking and M&M are attacking.

    The only thing the Indians can do now is, pray for the Rain Gods to shower some mercy upon them and they can sing merrily “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head ……..”

  6. #6 by khansahab on August 10, 2008 - 12:34 PM

    Disappointing show by the Indian top order. Dravid has been a saving grace but if India are to win or even draw this one, Dravid and Laxman need to stand at the crease for most of the day tomorrow. It looks unlikely because the pitch will develop some more cracks which means Mendis and Murali will be more threatening.

    Sri Lanka will look to finish this match in 4 days. Whenever India loses humiliatingly the BCCI always takes some strong action- Javed A Khan is right in saying that Ganguly may face the axe. I get the feeling two out of Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly will be dropped. The dilemma for the selectors will be that in 2006 and 2007 Ganguly was India’s most consistent middle order batsman, whereas in this series he has looked the worst although Dravid is not too far off. The selectors may decide to give Ganguly another chance, in which case Dravid will definitely be dropped unless he scores 60+ or something in this innings.

    Even if India somehow manage to draw this match or even win it miraculously, the batting order will still need to be changed because at the moment it seems the Indians can’t play Murali and Mendis.

  7. #7 by Adnan Naqvi on August 10, 2008 - 12:43 PM

    in this commant i want paying tribute to great player called Great Miandad. he is call great miandad. miandad grow on street of karachi and play for pakistan, he is the best batsman world produce. miandad is also break many record for country, he always is playing for country and never excapt bribe from anyone for bad performance. is anyone remembering the sharjah match when he hits six on last ball of the match? tell me can the inzamam or any batsmen do it. inzamam wanted to break record of great miandad but not happen. why does pakistani say the inzamam is better then Great miandad. miandad from karachi is hero for the karachi people. but the punjabi is not respact him because his domicile is karachi. everyone say miandad the fighter, miandad the great player. why is the punjabi not say? no one like miandad in the pakistan because of his domicile. make miandad coach of pakistan team. it very sad i think so, hero not like by public because of domicile.

    Adnan from Karachi

  8. #8 by JAVED A. KHAN on August 10, 2008 - 4:43 PM

    Mian Adnan Nachvi Bhaiyya

    Stop singing Miandad Carrols in his totlee zubaan. We have never said Miandad is a bad player in fact on this blog we have created a special page for Miandad and gave him the due that he deserves. If you have any problem with the Punjabis go to the biased blogs where they ridicule Miandad or Karachiites BUT, right now the subject of this thread is about India vs. Sri Lanka test match. So, please contribute something on that instead of bhaiyaying.

    khansahab

    Yeah, you are right about the Indian middle order batting that needs to be reshuffled and “even if they win” is like asking them to BRING THE MOON AND THE STARS. I don’t think they can win, as “Marry Kills” don’t happen these days because Zaheer Abbass is not here to say that.

    I think when Dhoni will captain the test side in the near future they must have “youngson” in the team. (Inzamam used this word young-son instead of a youngster i.e., when Rameez asked him about the performance of a debutant) I think Yuvraj Singh should be in the test team before he gets the elephant’s leg disease and becomes redundant.

    During the post tea period today, when Mendas was bowling, only twice he bowled a ball that turned very sharply and very fast and it did surprise Dravid and Laxman both. But, both managed to deal with it, otherwise to me his bowling is not so great. Although he has created a world record today i.e., taking the highest number of wickets (25) in a 3 test series and broke the record that was made in 1946. A record is a record, but it needs to be seen how he performs on bouncy wickets in Australia and South Africa and also in England and the West Indies.

    Ganguly was unlucky today to be given out on that doubtful decision. Those who haven’t seen that match must watch the replay. He stretched very far and when the ball hit his pads, indeed it was very low but, the distance from the wicket was almost 3 meters – which is very far – and it was bound to bounce and hawk-eye confirmed that it was barely clipping the bails. The third umpire should have given the benefit of doubt in favour of the batsman.

  9. #9 by khansahab on August 10, 2008 - 9:04 PM

    Adnan Naqvi

    I don’t know if you recall our previous site where we had a list of “5 favourite cricketers” of the 3 LS managers. Two managers out of three had Miandad as one of their favourite cricketers. Inzamam’s name was in no one’s list. So I don’t know why you think “no one likes Miandad” because Javed A Khan and Awas like him.

    Now about Inzamam, I don’t know why you want to insert Inzamam’s name in an argument about Miandad. Inzamam may not have been a thinking captain but as a batsman he will always be a class act. I blame Inzamam for Pakistan’s humiliating defeat in the World Cup 2007 and there are also times when I feel some Pakistanis elevate Inzamam to a very high level and use that to criticise and demean Miandad which I feel they shouldn’t- both of them were great players and it shouldn’t be a question of people taking sides and making comments based around regional biases and jingoism.

    I personally don’t have as high an opinion regarding Inzamam’s batting because in my eyes consistency is the most important feature of batting. Inzamam was not as consistent as fellow Pakistani Mohammad Yousuf or other greats around the world. But his role in Pakistan’s victories cannot be underminded- he always proved to be the match winner whenever he was playing and Pakistan won. It is one thing to score a 50 or 100 in every other match and have high averages, it is another thing to be a genuine match winner for the country, which means whenever you perform, your team wins. In this respect Inzamam was greater than any Lara’s or Tendulkar’s of this world.

    Additionally, many people rate Inzamam at par with Lara and Tendulkar not for his consistency or personal records but for his class and technique. Inzamam was one of the best players of pace, one of the best executors of the late cut and when it came to handling pressure, no Lara, Tendulkar or Ponting could match him. Owing to these reasons many greats like Gavaskar, Shastri and even Miandad himself consider Inzamam to be in the league of top 5 batsmen of his era. Adnan, you idolise Miandad but it was Miandad who himself said that if anyone deserves to break his record, it is Inzamam.

    Yes I have seen Miandad’s six of the last ball off Chetan Sharma and yes Miandad was a fighter and great batsman. But it was a full toss on the middle and leg stump and these types of balls are generally easier to hit and slog. A slogger could have dispatched it for a six. However it would be unfair of me to take the credit away from Miandad because a six is a six at the end of the day.

  10. #10 by JAVED A. KHAN on August 10, 2008 - 9:26 PM

    khansahab

    A six is a six but, how many players have hit a six on the last ball of the match to win a match? I don’t reckon any. Only Asif Mujtaba did that against Australia in Australia and the match was a tie.

    Sir Vivian Richards said, “if I had to pick a player to bat for my life it would be Miandad.”

    Inzamam also played many great innings and his last ball 4 at Ahmedabad against the bowling of Tendulkar was a class act. Many people have scored victories with fours and sixes but, not on the last ball with a six.

    Kamran Abbassi in his article in BMJ (British Medical Journal) wrote that the last ball six from Miandad dented the psyche of the Indian team who struggled to win against Pakistan for the next 18 years. Here is the link for his article or analysis with Dr. Khalid Khan.

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/328/7443/800

    Here is the link for my response to his article.

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/328/7443/800#55824

  11. #11 by khansahab on August 10, 2008 - 10:26 PM

    Pawan

    Wish you all the best with your current busy commitments, and thanks for appreciating our work here on LS. People might think we are a “Pakistani blog” and although myself, Javed A Khan and Awas are more interested in Pakistan cricket (for obvious reasons) we still think of LS as a Pakistani AND Indian blog. We have to make an example of the idea that Pakistanis and Indians can love each other, tolerate each other and feel for each other. That is what we want to show to the world. ALSO, Indians and Indian cricket are a lot like Pakistan and Pakistani cricket, so naturally it is something we can relate to and something that interests us.

    Thanks so much for your support- it means a lot to us.

  12. #12 by JAVED A. KHAN on August 11, 2008 - 11:17 AM

    History has repeated itself in Sri Lanka after 7 years. Sri Lanka has won the three test series today against India once again and, that too in a similar yet in more convincing manner.

    The first test in 2001 SL won with an innings and 170 runs
    The first test in 2008 SL won with an innings and 239 runs

    India won the second test on both occasions but lost the third one.

    In the morning both Dravid and Laxman looked well settled and reminded their fans about how strong they were against Australia when Laxman scored 281 in the second innings after the follow-on and won the match by 177 runs. But, today it was a different story Dravid got out in his sixties and Laxman remained not out in his sixties and the lead of 122 was not good enough to defend the total, they got a glimmer of hope when SL were down 22/2 but, after that it was an easy sailing.

    Apart from Sehwag and Gambhir, every other Indian batsman played badly in the whole series especially Tendulkar and Ganguly averaging 15 and 16 respectively whereas, SL top 5 batsmen averaged over 50.

    Tendulkar has been sidelined for the entire ODI series against SL for his elbow injury and Ganguly’s test career is certainly over and may be Laxman and Dravid’s too. Kumble should gracefully announce his retirement today before the BCCI confirms that Dhoni will be the future captain for ODI and test as well. His bowling as well as his captaincy was pretty mediocre or to call it below par wouldn’t be any wrong. Perhaps Pawan might call it pathetic.
    Kumble has just blamed his batsmen. When Arun Lal asked him what was the reason of the defeat? He responded, “our batters did not perform well.”

    But, neither Kumble nor any other bowler except for Harbhajan bowled well for India and Mr. Kumble did not say anything about that. And the other question is how long Tendulkar will play? Will he be pushed to play to break Lara’s test aggregate and become the world’s leading run getter in test cricket? Or, should he call it a day and join the veterans club? Knowing Tendulkar and, knowing how the Indian cricket board, fans and the general public behaves in achieving records and milestones, I reckon he will play till he breaks Lara’s record.

  13. #13 by khansahab on August 11, 2008 - 5:54 PM

    PCB rubbishes speculation over Ashraf’s future

    Cricinfo staff

    August 11, 2008

    The PCB has rubbished speculation over the future of Nasim Ashraf, claiming that the chairman of the board is not going anywhere and will be back from the USA within the next few days.

    Ashraf is currently in the USA on a personal trip and undergoing some medical treatment, but the timing of his trip, with preparations for the Champions Trophy in full swing and an ICC task force visiting the country, has sparked chatter about an uncertain future.

    Some reports have linked his position to the future of Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, who is facing possible impeachment from the ruling government. As patron of the board, Musharraf directly appoints the chairman, and is thought to be close to Ashraf.

    But a board spokesman said such talk was baseless and insisted the chairman would be back soon. “There is nothing in all this,” Mansoor Suhail told Cricinfo. “The chairman had planned this trip quite some time ago and has in fact reduced it considerably with a view to the Champions Trophy. He has undergone some treatment there and will be back within the next 5-6 days.”

    Questions have been raised about the timing of the trip in particular as the ICC’s task force is in the country to assess final arrangements for the Champions Trophy. It has been suggested that the current four-man task force, missing a number of top delegates, was re-jigged because concerns about the venues weren’t of such importance. But Suhail insisted that Ashraf’s presence in any case wasn’t necessary.

    “This is not the exact task force that was originally nominated but they have come to discuss concerns and by their own admission have had excellent sessions in Islamabad and Lahore. It is not necessary for the chairman to be here as the PCB management has handled it and done it well.”

    Suhail also downplayed the implications of the political situation in the country on Ashraf’s position. “There is no link between what is happening with the presidency and the chairman of the board and to suggest as such is completely off the mark. The chairman will be back shortly and is very much looking forward to hosting the Champions Trophy.”

  14. #14 by khansahab on August 12, 2008 - 8:49 AM

    The new Indian movie called “Singh is Kinng” with superstar Akshay Kumar, the beautiful Katrina Kaif and the sexy Neha Dhupia has become a success. A party was organised in India to celebrate the success of this movie. I don’t understand though, what the hell Wasim Akram was doing in that party?

    See the following link:

    http://www.indiafm.com/stills/partiesnevents/Singh_Is_Kinng_success_party/still45792.html

  15. #15 by JAVED A. KHAN on August 12, 2008 - 12:56 PM

    After the test series, Sidharth Monga has summed up what in his opinion are the turning points which lead to India’s 2-1 defeat against Sri Lanka. This article appeared on cricinfo today, those who have not read may read it here.

    Turning Points
    Butter fingers, and Sehwag’s woes
    Sidharth Monga
    August 12, 2008

    The three-Test series between India and Sri Lanka swung constantly from one side to the other, often from session to session. Cricinfo brings you the main turning points of a fascinating series

    Butter fingers
    Sri Lanka had four centurions in the first innings of the series – and all four got reprieves well before they had put 600 on the board. Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera were dropped, Malinda Wanapura caught off a no-ball, Tillakaratne Dilshan got a decision overturned in his favour, though the review was doubtful. In all, the four scored 339 runs after the reprieves – and that was only the tangible effect they had.

    Sehwag comes and goes
    For the first five overs of India’s first innings in the SSC Test, it seemed the match – affected by rain and a docile pitch – was headed only one way: a draw. Certainly no danger for India. It was Virender Sehwag who made things look like that, scoring 25 runs in the first five overs. But when he hooked Nuwan Kulasekara to a waiting fieldsman at deep backward square leg, little did he know what was coming up next. An innings defeat.

    Mendis arrives … and destroys

    India’s collapse started with Sehwag, but Ajantha Mendis’ first wicket – Rahul Dravid, out bowled – had a psychological effect on the Indian middle order that plagued them the rest of the series. That devastating carrom ball was perhaps the biggest turning point of the series. Mendis was no longer a mythical mystery spinner but a destroyer in flesh and blood, and India didn’t know how to handle him.

    Sehwag applies himself, but the umpires don’t

    In the second innings at the SSC, Sehwag looked more circumspect, more responsible, but was undone by a poor (given the amount of replays available) decision to give him out lbw. Another collapse, which would become a feature of Indian batting, ensued and the last nine added 113.

    Gambhir and the middle order desert Sehwag

    With Sehwag playing perhaps the innings of his life, and Gautam Gambhir supporting him, India looked like getting to a big total in the first innings of the Galle Test. Gambhir got out with the score at 167 and in no time India were reduced to 178 for 4. VVS Laxman held his end up and put on 100 with Sehwag, but the next collapse featured six wickets for 51 runs.

    Sri Lanka show they can collapse too
    Having wasted Sehwag’s innings, it seemed India had already lost the series, given the way Malinda Warnapura and Kumar Sangakkara started to wipe out the deficit in a hurry. But Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble turned the screws and were rewarded with Warnapura’s wicket. Sri Lanka competed with India’s collapses, as they went from 137 for 1 to 192 for 5.

    Kumble interrupts a Jayawardene gem

    In the same innings, Jayawardene seemed to be pulling off a heist with the tail, farming the strike, taking singles off the last balls, and frustrating the Indian bowlers who somehow find the tail hard to dislodge whenever the need is dire. Just when it seemed Jayawardene might take Sri Lanka to a crucial first-innings lead, Kumble showed up. His second wicket of the series was also the most crucial: only one run was added after Jayawardene’s dismissal.

    Tendulkar and Dravid follow each other again

    Having taken a substantial first-innings lead, and following a 90-run opening stand, India should have sealed the match there. But towards stumps on day three, they lost Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid on the same score, and the next six for 69 runs on the following morning. The Indians didn’t look pleased with the review decision that went against Dravid but it was a smart call by Jayawardene.

    Pace shows up

    With that collapse, Sri Lanka kept the target down to 307 and would have thought they had given themselves a chance, but Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan snuffed out any such notions. Between the second and the fourth over of the innings, they struck thrice with wickets of Warnapura, Sangakkara and Jayawardene, and the match was all but over.

    Ishant inspires again

    With the equaliser almost in the pocket, India got a final scare when Dilshan and Samaraweera looked to hustle them out of the match. Though they had a long way to go, their partnership (eventually 76) had started to bring Sri Lanka back into the game. But Ishant came up with one final inspired spell, beating the bat consistently at a high pace and with balls that would leave the batsmen a touch. His persistence finally paid off when he got Dilshan with a similar delivery, triggering another collapse: the next five went for 23.

    Brawn and brain come together

    Sehwag and Gambhir had got off to a quick start before another debutant turned the third Test Sri Lanka’s way. India had scored 51 in seven overs when Dammika Prasad got Sehwag’s wicket with a beauty. Prasad came back in his second spell to break the back – sorry, the middle – of India’s batting but Jayawardene stayed on top of his game too, successfully challenging two decisions that looked like inside-edges to the naked eye.

    Dravid drops the Idea Cup

    All through the series India had been sloppy in the field, and this one cost them the most. Had Dravid caught Sangakkara when the batsman was on 34, it would have been a sensational slip catch, but it was high time India came up with something sensational in the field. Sangakkara, by the way, went on to score 144.

    Where’s the consistency, ump?
    After Dravid dropped Sangakkara and before the latter had ground India to dust, there was a period where India had built up some momentum only to be denied by the inconsistency in the review system. They had taken two wickets for four runs, and should have had three for 16 when Kumble’s appeal for an lbw against Samaraweera was rejected. The replays seemed quite similar to when Dravid had been ruled out earlier in the match but, for some reason, the original decision was upheld. Samaraweera was on 5, then, and went on to score 35 – and, more importantly, put together a 60-run partnership with Sangakkara at a crucial juncture.

    The last straw
    It was a cruel anticlimax for what had been a great series. After India had fallen behind by 147, only Sehwag and Gambhir could have provided the series with yet another twist. They started to oblige, with 57 runs in nine overs before tea on the penultimate day. It turned out to be false hope. The two fell in quick succession after the interval, and left the Indian middle order, half of them injured, with too much to do. What was disappointing was the soft manner in which the two got out – the series deserved better for a final turning point.

  16. #16 by JAVED A. KHAN on August 12, 2008 - 1:22 PM

    khansahab

    If you excuse my spellings I can tell you what Wasim Akram was doing there? He was “lycking their Ashes”. c’est ca !

    In that photograph Wasim thinks that he is looking smart by smiling, he is actually looking like a La’whore dimwit dolt ch2ya in Bum Bai.

    Anyways, back to cricket. For our bloggers I have copy pasted Sidhart Monga’s views which are OK but coming from an India journalist appears more like “rona dhona” What India needs now is to switch gears and get ready for the 5 match ODI series starting from August 18th to 28th. With Dhoni taking over from Kumble we might see some action and big hitting Badrinath has filled in the place of injured Tendulkar.

    Two weeks after that, hopefully yeah hopefully CT will start in Pakistan and I am saying this with all my fingers xxxxx and if that happens there will be a lot of cricket to watch. Pakistan has announced their squad for CT and big time Khalifa, Naqshay-baaz, dramay-baaz, phadday-baaz, and many more baaz to his name Show Actor has been included in the squad and I don’t know how many overs he can bowl without being injured or without huffing and puffing inhalers. But, he is there to create phadday and hungamay to get cheap tabloid attention for his “company ki mashoori kay liyeh.”

    For those who don’t know this expression company ki mashoori kay liyeh, let me explain it to them quickly. In Karachi private transport buses, when the bus is getting filled by passengers from the point of origin or whenever during the journey when there are no standing passenger, you will see a walking salesman who opens his bag (which has some weird products such as some medication or anything) and his BIG MOUTH by saying, “Bhai jaan, Meher baan, Qadar daan, company ki mashoori kay liyeh aur aapki khidmet kay liyeh na cheez haazir hai…….. he would sell medication for Piles, Asthama, common cold, diarrhea or any kinda of VD or even tooth powder and soorma.

    The one about Piles was the best, especially the way they describe the nature of Piles which in Urdu is called Bawaseer. “Bawaseer chahay kaisi ho, Angoori, Kashtoori, Baadaami ya Peshwari, bus ek goli khaiyeh saari takleefaon say nijaat paiyeh.” People often say “goli ander dum baher” But, the irony is some ignorant blokes actually buy from this quack …. I think we should create a jokes page and write these “KhaaKay” over there.

  17. #17 by Shaske on October 18, 2009 - 7:26 AM

    Great Post…
    Thanks

  18. #18 by Maza786 on January 16, 2010 - 12:52 PM

    Khansahab cos he’s an iconic figure.

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