October 26, 2005

Bigger Bang in Nagpur
The first ODI – Ceylon vs Bharat. Are we resorting to equations of old? Or is this just another flash in the pan?
By Gaurav Sethi

I’m still trying to get a handle on the new Rolling Stone’s album – The Bigger Bang. Meanwhile, it appears team India & Co (Co for Coach?) might have pulled off something like that already.

Here I was, ready for another Murali migraine – where M smokes out Yuvraj and the other young princes, while Chandana and Dilshan, vulture-like feed on the leftovers. But heck, wake up and smell the new Dilmah brew – it’s not that potent, at least not for the first ODI.

For starters, Jayasuriya didn’t make a triple hundred. Have to make allowances for injuries – though it’s easy to picture Sanath splayed on a four-poster bed, and still playing those painful flicks past fine leg. Of course, for that we’ll need Srinath and Zaheer back in the team. After all, Jayasuriaya has upped his career average to the 30s with an average in the 40s against India. (btw that’s an educated guess, it could be in the 50s)

Then, Kumara Sangakara, the other Lankan mainstay, didn’t score big either. Nor did India the prime patrons of Jayawardene oblige him to another hundred. As for Arnold and Dilshan, who are fast finding their teeth, especially against India, score many, if any.

But the bigger deal was the Lankan bowling. Vaas didn’t have a Ganguly to bounce out at the start – rewind to matches of ol’ and you’ll see that Vaas was possibly one of the first to suss out Saurav’s shortcomings against short bowling.

As for Murali, the Indians didn’t falter in trying to blast him out of the attack. On the contrary, Sachin’s fast receding hairline added a certain ruthless wisdom to his approach, as also to Pathan’s shrewd selection in whom to attack.

In hindsight, compared to the recent Indian Oil Cup in Sri Lanka, the game at Nagpur was if anything, a trifle freak. But that invariably happens when you win the toss and bat out the opposition with 300 plus scores.

Look at this way: how well would we have chased with 351 to win?

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