Dhoni missed as a captain & a finisher in India’s match against Lanka

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was clearly missed by the Indians in their match against Sri Lanka, both as keeper-captain and as a matchless finisher with the bat on Tuesday, writes Ravi Shastri in his column in The Times Of India. “Indians looked less intense without their captain in the middle. That was the unmistakable impression from afar. His ban for slow over-rate couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Indians. It hurt India that the top three didn’t stay long enough. It left the others with too much to do,” he writes adding that Virender Sehwag didn’t get his numbers right.

“Else, why would you let a Suresh Raina and a Virat Kohli bowl the final two overs at a time when the Lankans, with wickets in their kitty, were looking to throw their bats at everything. It was akin to throwing lambs to wolves. Irfan Pathan was decent but Vinay Kumar was patchy and Umesh Yadav off the mark. There was no method or discipline in his spells. If he was not bowling wide, he was bowling too short. However, the two spinners, Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, bowled well in tandem,” opines Shastri.

Sunil Gavaskar, meanwhile, writes in TOI that it was time for Manoj Tiwary to come in for Ravindra Jadeja. “Ravindra Jadeja disappointed again and it is about time the Indians brought in Manoj Tiwary, who can also bowl a few overs just like Jadeja is doing. India were at their best when they had a team with six batsmen and Dhoni and four bowlers with one or two of the batsmen bowling the fifth bowler’s quota between them. There is no doubt they are missing Yuvraj big time,” writes Gavaskar.

According to Hindustan Times, the 'spirit of cricket versus the laws of cricket' debate was back to the fore on Tuesday when India withdrew an appeal after off-spinner R Ashwin 'Mankaded' Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimanne. As Ashwin ran in to bowl the third delivery of the 40th over to Angelo Mathews, he saw that Thirimanne had backed up too far even before Ashwin had released the ball. He quickly flicked the bails and appealed to the umpire.

Skipper Virender Sehwag, standing at short cover, appeared to be hesitant in appealing. Thirimanne stood his ground and both the umpires consulted each other while the Indian players came together for a huddle. When umpires Paul Reiffel and Billy Bowden asked Sehwag to join them for a discussion, senior statesman Sachin Tendulkar also walked up and a decision was made quickly to withdraw the appeal.

“I think Ashwin warned him once in the previous over and then in the next over he just took the bail off and appealed. The umpires discussed and asked me. I said we can give him one more warning. If you will give him one more warning then we will go for that. I decided that (we should withdraw the appeal). Everybody was discussing but the umpires called me and I said, 'we can give him one more warning but if he does it again we will (run him out).' That's the ICC rule. If somebody is taking an early start than bowlers have the full right to run him out.”

Other news (TOI, HT, The Hindu, Indian Express)

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