Be­lea­guered Lanka miss­ing Malinga tricks

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - SPORT - Firoz Mirza ■ sports­desk@hin­dus­tan­

While dom­i­nant In­dia will be look­ing to seal the se­ries in Hy­der­abad on Sun­day with another clin­i­cal win, their op­po­nents Sri Lanka would have a lot to pon­der over in the next day to avoid the ig­nominy.

Sri Lanka, pulled out of pre­sea­son train­ing and re­quested to fill-in after West Indies abruptly called off their In­dia tour, have been out­played in ev­ery depart­ment in the first two matches. Only a win in the third can sal­vage pride and keep the se­ries alive.

The Sri Lanka bat­ting has looked frag­ile and their field­ers have ap­peared lethar­gic on the field. But it’s their tooth­less bowl­ing which has cost them the most.

In the first ODI in Cut­tack, open­ers Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Ra­hane piled on the mis­ery to help post a mam­moth to­tal of 363, they cruised to vic­tory in Ahmed­abad, over­haul­ing the tar­get of 275 with more than five overs to spare.

The is­landers used all bowl­ing op­tions in the first two matches but failed mis­er­ably to con­tain ram­pag­ing In­dian bats­men. Although con­di­tions are not too dif­fer­ent from their home venues, Sri Lanka have of­ten strug­gle to com­pete in In­dia. AB­SENCE OF STARS

“We tried all the bowlers and I couldn’t get any wicket,” rued skip­per An­gelo Mathews after the six-wicket loss in Ahmed­abad. He lamented the ab­sence of se­nior pros like La­sith Malinga and left-arm spin­ner Ran­gana Herath, but it can hardly help the team’s con­fi­dence with the World Cup three months away.

While it was In­dia’s pace tri­umvi­rate of Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron that dis­man­tled Sri Lanka in the first match, spin­ners R Ash­win, Ravin­dra Jadeja and Axar Pa­tel shared the spoils in the next.

On the con­trary, Sri Lanka bowlers looked rusty with almost ev­ery bowler con­ced­ing more than run-a-ball.

Only Su­raj Ran­div and Seekkuge Prasanna have been among wick­ets but they too failed to choke the flow of runs on bat­ting pitches.

Pac­ers Dham­mika Prasad and Lahiru Ga­m­age looked clue­less and it was col­lec­tive fail­ure which forced Mathews to open the bowl­ing with the lat­ter in the sec­ond match.

No doubt the World Twenty20 cham­pi­ons are miss­ing Malinga but over de­pen­dence on an in­di­vid­ual could hurt their chances in the World Cup.

The ab­sence of Malinga and Herath was seen pro­vid­ing an op­por­tu­nity for the fringe play­ers to stake their claim for the World Cup. But go­ing by their show in the first two matches, none of them seem de­serv­ing of a place in the squad.


After an early wicket from Dham­mika Prasad, Sri Lanka bowlers strug­gled.

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