Injuries, dropped catches bring woe to Sri LankansAugust 4, 2012, 4:38 pm
by Rex Clementine
Sri Lanka started the five-match ODI series against India a fortnight ago as favourites as they came into the series having beaten a strong Pakistan outfit. India, meanwhile, were coming into the series after a break. Sri Lanka, however, conceded the series with a game to spare following successive defeats in Colombo as the tourists were involved in successful run chases twice.
Sri Lanka lost the team’s most consistent bowler, Nuwan Kulasekara, in the first ODI at Suriyawewa due to a groin injury and in the third ODI they lost Kumar Sangakkara, the only batsman to have scored over 1,000 runs in the calendar year after he fractured a finger while batting. Sangakkara was the in-form batsman having hit a century in the first ODI and then top scored with 73 runs in the fateful third ODI.
"It is a tough ask and we have to deal with it. We don’t have two of our important players available, but it’s an opportunity for us to find out more about others," Sri Lanka’s coach Graham Ford told journalists ahead of the fourth ODI.
Injury to Kulasekara meant that Sri Lanka were forced to recall Nuwan Pradeep. Kulasekara now is the sixth Sri Lankan seamer in the list of either injured or recovering from injuries.
India’s is one of the strongest batting line-ups in the world. No target seems to be big enough against them and the current Sri Lankan bowling outfit has struggled to contain them.
When Sri Lanka made 286 for five in their 50 overs in the third ODI, many thought they had the game in hand. No team had chased that many runs successfully on Sri Lankan soil. The previous highest run chase in Sri Lanka was the 271 made by India against England during the Champions Trophy in 2002.
Sri Lanka looked set to wrap up things when Lasith Malinga removed M. S. Dhoni and Rohit Sharma in successive deliveries in the 36th over and when Gautam Gambhir was run out with the total on 196 for five in the 39th over, they were within touching distance. But then the generally reliable Sachithra Senanayake, who was the substitute fielder, put down a chance off Suresh Raina when he was on 19. The total was 222 at that point and Raina went on to score an unbeaten 62 to help India win with two balls to spare.
A similar scenario took place in the fourth ODI. On a slow wicket, India had slumped to 109 for four chasing 252 to win and with Raina on 19 and the total 153 for four.captain Mahela Jayawardene put down a sitter off Nuwan Pradeep at first slip. Raina went on to make an unbeaten 54 and more importantly was involved in an unbroken 146 run stand with Virat Kohli for the fifth wicket.
"The bowling obviously didn’t look penetrative enough and obviously not a good fielding performance in the last four games. We made a lot of mistakes, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene told journalists after conceding a 3-1 lead to the Indians.
Another obvious concern for the Sri Lankans was the amount of non-stop cricket they had been playing. There seems to be no end to it as well as the international calendar looks packed.
"I need to speak to the management and see what we can do. I know a couple of guys are really struggling with fatigue. We will see what the options are and try and motivate them to go out and take up the challenge. Kandy is going to be a different challenge altogether. We need to try and put a decent performance," Jayawardene said.
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Last Updated May 19 2013 | 08:24 pm