India will be delighted with the way they chased down the Sri Lankan total of 286 runs which gave them a very important lead in the five match ODI series. At the half-way stage mark the odds were definitely in favor of the home team as they had never lost a match in Sri Lanka where they have scored more than 250 runs in the past decade.
On top of that Indian batting struggled in the previous match and couldn’t even manage to cross the 150 mark. But some tremendous batting from Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina ensured that India go a match up in the series. Gambhir displayed tremendous guts and played exactly to the teams’ need. Raina on the other hand was at his explosive best and took India out from a losing position.
It was the first close match of the series and it looks that the trend will continue in the coming matches as well. There were some good performance from both sides and some pretty weak ones, let’s have a look at some of the hits and flops from both teams.
Kumar Sangakkara: Sangakkara has been in great form and his dream run continued even in this match. He came in the third over of the match and lost two partners quickly. He then had a very good partnership with his captain Jayawardene and took Sri Lanka to a position from where they could launch the attack. It is very unfortunate that he suffered an injury which will keep him out of the series.
Mahela Jayawardene: He came in to bat when Sri Lanka was in dire state. He was the man who brought the momentum into the Sri Lankan innings; he maneuvered the ball pretty well and scored 65 very important runs.
Angelo Mathews: Mathews is one of the world’s best finisher going around and he proved why. He came after the fall of his captain’s wicket and looked in great touch. He played a blistering knock of 71 runs and he was the man responsible to take the Sri Lankan total to 286 runs.
Lasith Malinga: He has struggled against Indians in the recent matches, but in this match he was the man who brought Sri Lanka back into the match. He took the wickets of MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma on consecutive deliveries.
Isuru Udana: After the last match it was expected that Udana will miss out on his spot, but Jayawardene showed faith in him and kept him in the side only to get disappointed again. Udana bowled waywardly and leaked runs. He was in-effective with whatever he tried.
Dinesh Chandimal: He came into the series with a huge reputation, but he hasn’t done anything substantial in the series so far. He looked lost against the Indian seamers and got himself into a tangle to get out.
Gautam Gambhir: He is the man in-form for India. After his lone hand in the previous match, he took matters in his control once again and kept India into the run-chase. He played beautifully and played right according to the situation. It was his run-a-ball century that provided cushion to the other Indian batsmen.
Suresh Raina: He is a genuine match-winner and has a habit of scoring important runs. He came in to bat when India was on the brink of a loss and played brilliantly from there. He was dropped once, but that was the only awkward moment in his innings. His 65 runs won India the match.
Zaheer Khan: He struggled in the previous match but came back beautifully in this match. He swung the ball both ways and dismissed both the openers. He gave away only 39 runs in his ten overs.
Virender Sehwag: He is playing horribly. Even in the first match where he came close to the century he got a number of chances and was dropped on a couple of occasion. His technique looks week and it looks that he can get out on any ball. Sehwag has to be a bit more cautious in his approach.
Rohit Sharma: He once again failed to open his score, he now has five runs from the three innings that he has played and it is time that he should be dropped from the team. It is true that he got a fantastic delivery upfront but it looks that he is not sighting the delivery well and gets late on the ball.
MS Dhoni: Dhoni promoted himself to number four in the batting order and played far too slowly for India’s cause. He consumed 49 deliveries for his 31 runs and that had a severe impact on India’s asking rate. He failed to take the initiative as a captain when Sri Lanka were three down for almost nothing and provided them easy run-scoring opportunities.
By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News Network