Sri Lanka in India 2009-10 December 27, 2009

Sri Lanka need not panic

Sangakkara's men cannot afford to go into survival mode. They need their core to step up drive the team forward with an eye on the World Cup
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Sri Lanka's one-day squad travel back home disappointed, and no doubt exhausted, after what has been a long, tough tour. They'll only have a few days to recover before travelling to Bangladesh for another tri-series, but they'll be looking forward to a few days off with their families, some time to reflect on what went wrong and to recharge in time for the next assignment.

There will be some equally disappointed Sri Lanka fans around the world wondering what this means for Sri Lankan cricket. Most importantly, where does this leave the team with regard to the fast-approaching 2011 World Cup? My strong belief is that there is no need to hit the panic button right now. There are some issues to resolve, and areas of concern, but the team is moving forward and developing.

Some perspective is needed. You need to remember that even when they had the Ranatungas, Aravinda de Silvas, Muralis and Vaases in their prime, Sri Lanka have struggled to tame India in India. In fact, this is the same for all visiting teams, with India losing only a handful of home bilateral series in their history. The truth is that playing India at home remains one of the toughest propositions in world cricket.

The captain, players and management team have learnt a great deal over the past few weeks. Like Ian Chappell correctly points out, you actually learn more when you lose, and I have no doubt that the team as a whole will be able to bounce back strongly from this experience. They did the same back in early 2007, after a drubbing in late 2005 in India - Tom Moody's first tour in charge. Going forward, I think Sri Lanka are well placed for the next 12 to 18 months.

The biggest positive of the tour will undoubtedly be that some of the younger brigade - the likes of Chanaka Welegedera, Suraj Randiv and Suranga Lakmal - showed plenty of promise. The other side of the coin was that the experienced core players - the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis and Sanath Jayasuriya - did not perform up to expectations. Sri Lanka need these core players to be confident and in the right frame of mind, as their experience and qualities will help the youngsters mature much faster. The players must not go into survival mode and must keep challenging themselves to keep improving and pushing out of their comfort zones. Sportsmen do go through phases in their careers. At certain times, you do tend to sit back and live in the past. Sri Lanka cannot afford to lose their core players, but neither can their core remain stagnant; they must be the ones driving the team forward.

It's not an excuse, but any post-tour analysis cannot ignore the reality that the team were hit severely by injuries, especially to their bowlers. By the end of the tour, the list of players who had returned home included Thilan Thushara, Dammika Prasad, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando and Angelo Mathews. Add to that Malinga's unavailability for the first two games, Welegedera's groin injury before the fourth ODI, and the fact that Farveez Maharoof was not available as a replacement due to niggling injuries.

While Kumar Sangakkara will get flak in the media for losing, I actually thought he got better and better through the series as captain. He came to India still partly in his captaincy honeymoon and was immediately put under huge pressure. The key thing was that he learnt fast and showed strength of character

Sri Lanka were forced to dig deep into their back-up resources, and their bowling attack throughout most of the series was extremely inexperienced. The injuries undermined continuity in the team and made on-field strategy extremely difficult. The fact that they still competed so well at times is actually quite remarkable. When the injuries ease up and the selectors are able to select from a fully-fit squad, there will be a good group of players to choose from.

They will, however, need to have a fresh look at the fitness of the players, and at their attitude to injuries. There is a feeling that some of the players are too soft, pulling up sore regularly and not putting their bodies on the line as demanded in international sport. In that regard, the likes of Maharoof and Prasad need to get back to peak physical fitness and play successive games and series.

While Kumar Sangakkara will get flak in the media for losing, I actually thought he got better and better as captain through the series. He came to India still partly in his captaincy honeymoon and was immediately put under huge pressure. He had a bit of a reality check and learnt quickly that sometimes you are just forced to adapt and change even the best-laid plans. The key thing was that he learnt fast and showed strength of character. He looked increasingly calm and in control.

The one suggestion would be to stick to his plans a little longer. Sometimes his thought processes were excellent, but then he chose to change tack a little too hastily. In his defence, though, the bowlers also did not help by consistently executing the plans. If they cannot put the ball in the right areas and bowl to the carefully set fields then the captain's efforts will also be undermined. There was some criticism about him not being attacking enough, but unless the bowlers are delivering the goods there is sometimes not much you can do.

The biggest concern is the fielding. There is no escaping the fact that it is a weakness that must be urgently addressed. The problem, though, is that the squad is not jam-packed with natural fielders. The team management need to work out a plan for urgently lifting standards. I strongly believe that the top fielding teams will have a distinct advantage during the 2011 World Cup, especially in the batting-friendly Indian stadiums.

The flat pitches we've seen this season in India give the bowlers no room to breathe. Par totals have increased in the past few years from 250 to 275, and now to over 300, with the increasing of fielding restrictions from 15 to 20 overs and the improved quality of limited-overs batting. When up against a team with the batting strength of India, you are under huge pressure to produce enormous totals.

So how do you counter the threat of power-packed batting line-ups? Sri Lanka got one part of the puzzle right by attacking the Indian bowlers with equal intent. They did that consistently well (although the batsmen were also guilty of squandering two winning opportunities). But the second part of the puzzle is hitting back with early wickets. You need to go for wickets and grab all the half-chances. That's why the fielding becomes so important. It's essential you convert most of your wicket-taking opportunities.

This is the main challenge for the coming months. Sri Lanka need to build up a bowling unit capable of creating pressure on flat tracks and lift their fielding up to the point where half-chances are routinely snaffled. Sri Lanka have the bowlers who can perform on more bowler-friendly tracks, but they also need strategies in place for India's truer pitches.

I think there is greater clarity now as to what is needed for Sri Lanka to win the World Cup, an achievable objective for what remains an exciting squad.

Russel Arnold played 44 Tests and 180 ODIs for Sri Lanka between 1997 and 2007

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rajsrawat05 on January 12, 2010, 8:24 GMT

    Good article Russel. I am an Indian. I see your perspective is right. In fact, sri lanka did well despite so many injuries to their key players shows they are going in the right direction. Also, that the younger players have performed well in the current triseries in bangladesh shows u are right. SL Core players didnt perform as well in india as they should have. @tallgrass, i dont understand how u didnt find this article coherent? But the views expressed herein are clear and right. and where is chamara silva? He is a very good middle order batsman.

  • SLfan on January 6, 2010, 0:50 GMT

    Without some best batsmen in the team, still Sri Lanka was able to win the 2nd ODI of the IDEA cup against India! So, really no need to panic for Sri Lanka, since there are bunch of talented youngsters are coming through. The debutant Lahiru Thirimanne (the replacement for Dilshan) was done really well at the start of the inning...Thilan Samaraweera played superbly with a strike rate of almost 100.Sanga showed that how consistent he is...Finally what an inning from young Thissara Perera! When he was hitting 4s & 6s to Zaheer, he was frowning as usual...That means Zaheer is not able to reply for those shots with the ball. That's why he was frowning at Thissara. He should learn that how to respond to bat with the ball, without getting angry with the batsman...All the other Indian players showed lot of sportsmenship.Hats off to them...

  • 9ST9 on January 2, 2010, 16:32 GMT

    Even though I do not approve blaming the Sri Lankan skipper for the India tour, Sangakkara's captaincy tends to be too rigid. It is as if he decides beforehand and sticks to his plan. Example - the 2nd T20 - where he expected mohali to assist pace and didn't bowl Jayasuriya. Similarly he tends to stick to a bowler even when he gets thrashed - it kind of reminded me of the CPU opposition or the AI in a cricket game such as EA Cricket 2007, where the Computer opponent makes bowling changes periodically rather than based on how he was performing.

  • KingOwl on January 2, 2010, 1:57 GMT

    Two points: 1. There are so many articles praising Russel on this board. I don't understand the rationale. I agree with tallgrass; Sri Lankans can rarely put anything coherent in an articulate manner (not just ordinary people, but journalists too). So, Russel, nothing personal, but please don't assume that you are writing fantastic critiques of SL cricket. You are not. Not only that. The commentating by the Sri Lankans was pathetic during the tour. Whereas the Indians were unashamedly defending their country, our commentators were acting like complete vassals, thanking the Indians 'for the opportunity given to be commentators'. I have never heard of such inferiority. It seems that the commentators are more interested in preserving their jobs than representing SL. 2. Sanga's pitch reading was pathetic, as I said before. His strategy of employing the powerplays was worse. Why do we wait till #10 and #11 are at the wicket to employ the final PP? It is beyond comprehension.

  • 9ST9 on January 1, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    Funny to notice that Malinga, Murali and Mendis - were signed by Tasmania, Victoria and South-Australia for the Big-bash, but denied by Sri Lanka Cricket due to the Bangladesh tour, and subsequently dropped. They could have gathered some experience before the T20 WC.

  • SLfan on December 31, 2009, 9:55 GMT

    Considering the problem in the bowling unit, I think Welagedera, Dilhara, Lakmal & Thushara should be given more chances in the future.These guys get the bounce(height), which is very important to attack good batsmen.It is not just enough for having good line & length anymore.That's why Kulasekara was hammered... It's true that Kapugedera did n't perform well recently.But he has the talent for not only placing the ball well, but also for clearing the infield easily.These skills are very important for a top order batsman.It's true that he has given many chances.But the position was at 6 or 7. When he was promoted to no.4 in the 1st T20, he batted really well..I think it is worth to test him at no.3, atleast for one more series...Thissara Perera should be given more chances. His brief inning of 14 balls showed that he is well fit for the no.7 spot.Mathews & him can play the role of 'finishers'.

  • T20funda on December 31, 2009, 8:17 GMT

    I think the team selected for tri series in Bangladesh is a good one ,Thusara ,Welegedera & Kulasekara form agood pace attack .Inlcuding Bandara is also good decision ,he along with Randiv will be handy in spin friendly wickets at dhaka .All the best Sri lanka

  • gg87 on December 31, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    hey russ, your absolutely spot on. i'm also feeling now we are on the right track. And no point to give more chances to Jayasuriya & Kapugedara. How many times they have let down their skipper. And srilanka really need to find out a steady middle order batsman. I think chamara silva should get a another chance. Since he has performed dramatically in the last season.

  • KingOwl on December 31, 2009, 6:45 GMT

    I agree that poor fielding was a problem. But given the flat tracks in India, it is hard to expect any fielding side to keep their standards and morale up. I think given the conditons, any team would have missed opportunities in the field. So, pointing out fielding as the main culprit is rather simple minded. I also agree that we need not panic - after all, to say that our bowling attack was inexperienced is a huge understatement. We had our 5 top bowlers out of action. In that context, Indian achievements were rather ordinary. But, somebody needs to make sure that our bowlers are in peak fitness. The fact they are not is astonishing, given the amounts spent on bck up staff. I see another problem: Captaincy was flawed. It was not just on field problems, his pitch reading was astonishing - even I, who have only captained my university team - could have done better with that. Kumar needs to grow up quickly in that role. Otherwise his supreme batting skills will come to nothing.

  • kumar_iitkgp on December 30, 2009, 17:00 GMT

    Nice article Russel good stuff ..keep it up

  • rajsrawat05 on January 12, 2010, 8:24 GMT

    Good article Russel. I am an Indian. I see your perspective is right. In fact, sri lanka did well despite so many injuries to their key players shows they are going in the right direction. Also, that the younger players have performed well in the current triseries in bangladesh shows u are right. SL Core players didnt perform as well in india as they should have. @tallgrass, i dont understand how u didnt find this article coherent? But the views expressed herein are clear and right. and where is chamara silva? He is a very good middle order batsman.

  • SLfan on January 6, 2010, 0:50 GMT

    Without some best batsmen in the team, still Sri Lanka was able to win the 2nd ODI of the IDEA cup against India! So, really no need to panic for Sri Lanka, since there are bunch of talented youngsters are coming through. The debutant Lahiru Thirimanne (the replacement for Dilshan) was done really well at the start of the inning...Thilan Samaraweera played superbly with a strike rate of almost 100.Sanga showed that how consistent he is...Finally what an inning from young Thissara Perera! When he was hitting 4s & 6s to Zaheer, he was frowning as usual...That means Zaheer is not able to reply for those shots with the ball. That's why he was frowning at Thissara. He should learn that how to respond to bat with the ball, without getting angry with the batsman...All the other Indian players showed lot of sportsmenship.Hats off to them...

  • 9ST9 on January 2, 2010, 16:32 GMT

    Even though I do not approve blaming the Sri Lankan skipper for the India tour, Sangakkara's captaincy tends to be too rigid. It is as if he decides beforehand and sticks to his plan. Example - the 2nd T20 - where he expected mohali to assist pace and didn't bowl Jayasuriya. Similarly he tends to stick to a bowler even when he gets thrashed - it kind of reminded me of the CPU opposition or the AI in a cricket game such as EA Cricket 2007, where the Computer opponent makes bowling changes periodically rather than based on how he was performing.

  • KingOwl on January 2, 2010, 1:57 GMT

    Two points: 1. There are so many articles praising Russel on this board. I don't understand the rationale. I agree with tallgrass; Sri Lankans can rarely put anything coherent in an articulate manner (not just ordinary people, but journalists too). So, Russel, nothing personal, but please don't assume that you are writing fantastic critiques of SL cricket. You are not. Not only that. The commentating by the Sri Lankans was pathetic during the tour. Whereas the Indians were unashamedly defending their country, our commentators were acting like complete vassals, thanking the Indians 'for the opportunity given to be commentators'. I have never heard of such inferiority. It seems that the commentators are more interested in preserving their jobs than representing SL. 2. Sanga's pitch reading was pathetic, as I said before. His strategy of employing the powerplays was worse. Why do we wait till #10 and #11 are at the wicket to employ the final PP? It is beyond comprehension.

  • 9ST9 on January 1, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    Funny to notice that Malinga, Murali and Mendis - were signed by Tasmania, Victoria and South-Australia for the Big-bash, but denied by Sri Lanka Cricket due to the Bangladesh tour, and subsequently dropped. They could have gathered some experience before the T20 WC.

  • SLfan on December 31, 2009, 9:55 GMT

    Considering the problem in the bowling unit, I think Welagedera, Dilhara, Lakmal & Thushara should be given more chances in the future.These guys get the bounce(height), which is very important to attack good batsmen.It is not just enough for having good line & length anymore.That's why Kulasekara was hammered... It's true that Kapugedera did n't perform well recently.But he has the talent for not only placing the ball well, but also for clearing the infield easily.These skills are very important for a top order batsman.It's true that he has given many chances.But the position was at 6 or 7. When he was promoted to no.4 in the 1st T20, he batted really well..I think it is worth to test him at no.3, atleast for one more series...Thissara Perera should be given more chances. His brief inning of 14 balls showed that he is well fit for the no.7 spot.Mathews & him can play the role of 'finishers'.

  • T20funda on December 31, 2009, 8:17 GMT

    I think the team selected for tri series in Bangladesh is a good one ,Thusara ,Welegedera & Kulasekara form agood pace attack .Inlcuding Bandara is also good decision ,he along with Randiv will be handy in spin friendly wickets at dhaka .All the best Sri lanka

  • gg87 on December 31, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    hey russ, your absolutely spot on. i'm also feeling now we are on the right track. And no point to give more chances to Jayasuriya & Kapugedara. How many times they have let down their skipper. And srilanka really need to find out a steady middle order batsman. I think chamara silva should get a another chance. Since he has performed dramatically in the last season.

  • KingOwl on December 31, 2009, 6:45 GMT

    I agree that poor fielding was a problem. But given the flat tracks in India, it is hard to expect any fielding side to keep their standards and morale up. I think given the conditons, any team would have missed opportunities in the field. So, pointing out fielding as the main culprit is rather simple minded. I also agree that we need not panic - after all, to say that our bowling attack was inexperienced is a huge understatement. We had our 5 top bowlers out of action. In that context, Indian achievements were rather ordinary. But, somebody needs to make sure that our bowlers are in peak fitness. The fact they are not is astonishing, given the amounts spent on bck up staff. I see another problem: Captaincy was flawed. It was not just on field problems, his pitch reading was astonishing - even I, who have only captained my university team - could have done better with that. Kumar needs to grow up quickly in that role. Otherwise his supreme batting skills will come to nothing.

  • kumar_iitkgp on December 30, 2009, 17:00 GMT

    Nice article Russel good stuff ..keep it up

  • RajithaS on December 30, 2009, 16:48 GMT

    Good stuff Russel. Everybody seems to be going behind Sanath. But what has Sanath not done that Mahela, Kandambi, Samaraweera and Kapugedara has done? Absolutely nothing. Also remember, Sanath can bowl. And hes a bloody good one day bowler. He won the 1st T20 for us. But Mahela, Kandambi, Samaraweera and Kapugedara dont bowl. They cant bowl. So we are just relying on them for the batting. Which is horrible. How on earth does Kapu get so many chances? Is Kapu the next Mubarak? Its ok to go behind Sanath on hes bad form. But dont isolate the man. Theres plenty more in the team that doesnt deserve to be in the team but somehow keeps getting in. Atleast Sanath has a proven record for 20 years. What does Samaraweera, Kandambi and Kapu has?

  • Vicvindy on December 30, 2009, 12:58 GMT

    All Good ! It's easier said than done...howsoever i found few hindsights. 1.Sanga needs bit more as a captain and should not carried away.I consider him as a Aggravise Captain(Its a very good sign), But still he needs to manipulate more his capabilities in decision making and his resources wisely.2.SL needs a better fielding coach asap to become a balanced unit.b'coz SLT always has been Asia's No.1 fielding unit and now its bit lacking from them. 3. In my observation i found SL needs a Young coach who can jelly around with players.(for instance Watmore,Moody)i felt SLT has lost their spirit,especially when playing abroad.If not these talents are wasted. 4. If the senior players are not continueosly performing,drop them and let them perform in the domestic league and come back to the side. 5.I am bit worried about their moracle out in the middle when the going gets tough(take Aussies for instance-never say die).SLC has to consider these if we were to have gr8 cricketing unit for future

  • Shafi79 on December 30, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    My team for the next world cup (assuming all are fit)

    1) Dilshan 2)Tharanga 3) Sanga 4) Kandambi 5) Mahela 6) Mathews 7) Thissara Perera 8) Mahroof 9) Dilhara 10)Malinga Bandara 11)Murali / Malinga

    Kandambi deserves his place in the side and has done well, contrary to what some say, Mahela is a class act and i am certain he will come good soon enough. In limited overs cricket i rate Malin ga Bandara very highly and if he is given an oppurtunity in the BD tour, i'm sure he will show what he can do. Dilhara is one of the quickest bowlers we have and should play based on his performances during the indian tour. The last spot Murali or Malinga? Well both of them seem to be short of confidence and are'nt performing at their best, should we play either of them or play any one of the following who have looked promising - Welagedara, Prasad, Suraj Randiv ??? I would be inclined to play Murali or Malinga just so there is some expirience in the bowling attack.

  • vakkaraju on December 29, 2009, 20:05 GMT

    It is hard to swallow. But the the Indians did play the big moments better. It is not to say SL were a bad team. Over the last few years the Indian team has improved and they are more confident and consistent, but are still far from being the best team in the world. If they win the world cup in '11 then not only I everybody else will crown them the champions.

  • tallgrass on December 29, 2009, 9:14 GMT

    Oh please enough of panacea Jayasuriya...he has only scored 643 runs in his last 23 innings at an average of 27.95 with just 1 hundred. How much more backing does a man need? You don't need the entire top-order to be like Jayasuriya or Dilshan to win matches - what's required is good tactics and batsmen who know how to pace their innings like the great Aravinda. 50 overs is a lot of time and requires a better tactical approach - example the 4th ODI - the 300+ total was without Dilshan or Jayasuriya firing but the captain was tactically useless defending it!

  • HLANGL on December 29, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    Well... Not sure how many have understood the root cause of the issue. This result has to be expected, doesn't matter how hard it to be swallowed. All major teams around these days have quality attacking batsmen, NOT the sloggers, who can counterattack on a consistent basis. How many such batsmen SL have now ? None, except Dilshan. Sadly, the best option Jayasuriya is out of form, but even worse is neither the selection panel nor the over-complacent team leadership doesn't plant any confidence in this once legendary batsman. For a batsman of his nature, considering the amount of risk he takes in his stroke play, he needs to have the confidence in his ability. Now, no one cares him or keeps faith in his ability. As a player, that's the worst thing you can expect. Don't forget, he's the man who scripted SL's last major triumph (Asia Cup '08). Can we expect that ability from S'kara or Mahela ? Their batting has certain reservations & limitations in 90% of the games.

  • Dishanstc on December 29, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    Well I think Russ is absolutely spot on, but I think certain thinks needs to happen as far containing the indian batting they seem to seemlessly pull the rabbit out of the hat every time they find theyselves in a spot of bother thats mainly because of the confidence they have in the like of Gambhir,Yuvi and Dhoni having said that they have chinx in thier batting as well,I think the srilankans tried to exploit that potential loop hole in thier batting in the faourth game that was to bounce them up,this was a technic well used by the South Africans during the T20 World cupin England, I feel the likes of Suranga Lakmal, Chanka Welagadara and thilan thushara can do it pretty well they have the pace and the height to get the steep disoncerting bounce, Russ failed to mention the one name that was of thisara perera, I personna;y feel he is our yuvraj the game breaker he is strong lad who can bowl seam up and do the bouncers pretty well.any way all the best for the lankans in the comming year

  • tallgrass on December 29, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    Another typical gloss-over of a fiasco! What's with us sri lankans who can't be aggressive and direct. We lost the 4th one-dayer not because our bowlers were inexperienced but simply because our captain was sitting back expecting a miracle. Sanga needs to walk the talk or just pack up. Here's why we should panic - Our captain's pitch reading and team selection is next to terrible. He defensive and negative on the field - Playing 7 batsmen is a clear indication that he doesn't even believe in himself. Our batsmen don't play spin well anymore, fielding is slack and the tail begins at no.4. The only silver lining was the youngsters on tour - but with injured seniors returning (and with a captain who needs them to hold his hand through every other game) we might as well kiss their chances goodbye!

  • rmt9 on December 29, 2009, 2:24 GMT

    while its true that SL showed an improved performance in the odi's, its hard to accept the argument that they were on par or better than the indians simply on the basis that they did not take advantage of certain opportunities, since Indians can likewise claim that had their team taken more of their numerous missed chances in the field, they would have won even more convincingly

  • Rajinder_Bala on December 28, 2009, 19:54 GMT

    Nice article Russell. Even though we lost the series it is true that we have acquired lot of positives from the series. As said we need to develop a good bowling unit capable of bowling in flat tracks in India. I believe Mendis should be given more of a chance, and Herath should be tried as well. We need to pick two spinners from Murali,Mendis,Herath,Randiv,and Bandara. Also I can't believe that Mahela is given so much chances in ODI Cricket. Jayasuriya has been in better form than him!Mathews and Thisera Perera, I believe will be good power hitters for us in the middle order. All being said SL need to take the Indian Series experience to find the right combination for the World Cup.

  • the_bashers on December 28, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    dudes...dudes..... is this Hail Sri lanka column.. agreed that Sri Lanka played better than they did in the tests.... but saying they were ahead of India (in ODIs).. and yes it was clearly the battle between the two batting lineups... but when it mattered the indian bowlers did come good...

  • SLfan on December 28, 2009, 10:17 GMT

    Absolutely correct analysis! There is no need to be too much worried about the performance of the last tour(interms of limited overs perspective). This time, Sri Lanka team had performed well, compare to early Indian tours. Frankly we were ahead of the Indians, considering limited overs performance. We could have easly won 2 more ODIs, unless we have not thrown away the 1st match & the 3rd match...There were lots of positives in this tour.Welagedera was brilliant, not only due to his line & length, but also due to the bounce he got.No need to talk much about Mathews, since he was outstanding as usual.Dilhara seems to be in correct track again;I don't remember much about no balls this time...Suraj Randiv & Suranga Lakmal also very impressive.Upul Tharanga seems to getting his touch again..Amazing shots all over the ground...! Finally, Thissara Perera...What he had done in his brief inning of 14 balls was hard to believe.Zaheer was helpless...

  • achi82000 on December 28, 2009, 7:29 GMT

    Good analysis from Russel.I think we need to sort out 2 major problems for Bangla tour our middle order and bowling in the middle and last 10 overs.

    1.I think we need minimum 2 power hitters in the last 10 overs.When I say power hitters they should be muscular players who have confidence and power to clear the ground .This was something we lacked and our players in the past didn't have that ability to clear the ground and make fear in bowlers mind.Mathews and Thisara perera fits for the roll.

    2.And we need a wicket taking bowler in the middle.I think Mendis should be given more chance so he would not be under pressure.Even though Suraj bowled well but I don't see him as a wicket taking bowler.Obviously good palyers willl take the attack on Mendis.But one day would be the batsmans day and another day would be the bowlers day.So we should give him more confidence since we know he has wicket taking ability.

  • ferzil927 on December 28, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    Hello Russel, you have forgot to mention other "wastes" in SL team but you had Sana in mind. what about Kapugedara & Kandambi? where were they? should teach kandambi how to run between wkt's.he was one of the reasons we lost the 1st ODI.i dont understand why sanga keep giving chances to kapugedara? see the stats for last few matches.sana is better in all around than these two.should include mahela also. ODI form is so poor for him as well. indian pitches are flat,if you cannot score runs on these pitches then whats the point of playing in the team. is this "Sangakkara Chinthanaya"

  • kaarthik9925 on December 27, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    Hi!!Russell.You are rightly analysing the Sri lankan team performance in India.The injuries cost Srilanka very much because dammika prasad,fernando,thushara are all match winners plus they also missed a valuable experience in murali.But they were still a better side than the one which toured in 2005-06.Dilshan was threatening India and even zaheer could not stop him from making those centuries.Sangakkara threw away his wicket when it mattered.But in last two matches they were completely outplayed in bowling and batting depts.In fact i have concede that dilshan is more attacking than sehwag.Tharanga has also come good in this series.there are only some issues that should be sorted out But in cricinfo you have been writing columns only on srilanka's performance but such a wide knowledge you have about the game i think you should be writing columns on improving the game or on the whole give columns on improving the game.i'll check out for that next time around.Wish you a happy new year

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  • kaarthik9925 on December 27, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    Hi!!Russell.You are rightly analysing the Sri lankan team performance in India.The injuries cost Srilanka very much because dammika prasad,fernando,thushara are all match winners plus they also missed a valuable experience in murali.But they were still a better side than the one which toured in 2005-06.Dilshan was threatening India and even zaheer could not stop him from making those centuries.Sangakkara threw away his wicket when it mattered.But in last two matches they were completely outplayed in bowling and batting depts.In fact i have concede that dilshan is more attacking than sehwag.Tharanga has also come good in this series.there are only some issues that should be sorted out But in cricinfo you have been writing columns only on srilanka's performance but such a wide knowledge you have about the game i think you should be writing columns on improving the game or on the whole give columns on improving the game.i'll check out for that next time around.Wish you a happy new year

  • ferzil927 on December 28, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    Hello Russel, you have forgot to mention other "wastes" in SL team but you had Sana in mind. what about Kapugedara & Kandambi? where were they? should teach kandambi how to run between wkt's.he was one of the reasons we lost the 1st ODI.i dont understand why sanga keep giving chances to kapugedara? see the stats for last few matches.sana is better in all around than these two.should include mahela also. ODI form is so poor for him as well. indian pitches are flat,if you cannot score runs on these pitches then whats the point of playing in the team. is this "Sangakkara Chinthanaya"

  • achi82000 on December 28, 2009, 7:29 GMT

    Good analysis from Russel.I think we need to sort out 2 major problems for Bangla tour our middle order and bowling in the middle and last 10 overs.

    1.I think we need minimum 2 power hitters in the last 10 overs.When I say power hitters they should be muscular players who have confidence and power to clear the ground .This was something we lacked and our players in the past didn't have that ability to clear the ground and make fear in bowlers mind.Mathews and Thisara perera fits for the roll.

    2.And we need a wicket taking bowler in the middle.I think Mendis should be given more chance so he would not be under pressure.Even though Suraj bowled well but I don't see him as a wicket taking bowler.Obviously good palyers willl take the attack on Mendis.But one day would be the batsmans day and another day would be the bowlers day.So we should give him more confidence since we know he has wicket taking ability.

  • SLfan on December 28, 2009, 10:17 GMT

    Absolutely correct analysis! There is no need to be too much worried about the performance of the last tour(interms of limited overs perspective). This time, Sri Lanka team had performed well, compare to early Indian tours. Frankly we were ahead of the Indians, considering limited overs performance. We could have easly won 2 more ODIs, unless we have not thrown away the 1st match & the 3rd match...There were lots of positives in this tour.Welagedera was brilliant, not only due to his line & length, but also due to the bounce he got.No need to talk much about Mathews, since he was outstanding as usual.Dilhara seems to be in correct track again;I don't remember much about no balls this time...Suraj Randiv & Suranga Lakmal also very impressive.Upul Tharanga seems to getting his touch again..Amazing shots all over the ground...! Finally, Thissara Perera...What he had done in his brief inning of 14 balls was hard to believe.Zaheer was helpless...

  • the_bashers on December 28, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    dudes...dudes..... is this Hail Sri lanka column.. agreed that Sri Lanka played better than they did in the tests.... but saying they were ahead of India (in ODIs).. and yes it was clearly the battle between the two batting lineups... but when it mattered the indian bowlers did come good...

  • Rajinder_Bala on December 28, 2009, 19:54 GMT

    Nice article Russell. Even though we lost the series it is true that we have acquired lot of positives from the series. As said we need to develop a good bowling unit capable of bowling in flat tracks in India. I believe Mendis should be given more of a chance, and Herath should be tried as well. We need to pick two spinners from Murali,Mendis,Herath,Randiv,and Bandara. Also I can't believe that Mahela is given so much chances in ODI Cricket. Jayasuriya has been in better form than him!Mathews and Thisera Perera, I believe will be good power hitters for us in the middle order. All being said SL need to take the Indian Series experience to find the right combination for the World Cup.

  • rmt9 on December 29, 2009, 2:24 GMT

    while its true that SL showed an improved performance in the odi's, its hard to accept the argument that they were on par or better than the indians simply on the basis that they did not take advantage of certain opportunities, since Indians can likewise claim that had their team taken more of their numerous missed chances in the field, they would have won even more convincingly

  • tallgrass on December 29, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    Another typical gloss-over of a fiasco! What's with us sri lankans who can't be aggressive and direct. We lost the 4th one-dayer not because our bowlers were inexperienced but simply because our captain was sitting back expecting a miracle. Sanga needs to walk the talk or just pack up. Here's why we should panic - Our captain's pitch reading and team selection is next to terrible. He defensive and negative on the field - Playing 7 batsmen is a clear indication that he doesn't even believe in himself. Our batsmen don't play spin well anymore, fielding is slack and the tail begins at no.4. The only silver lining was the youngsters on tour - but with injured seniors returning (and with a captain who needs them to hold his hand through every other game) we might as well kiss their chances goodbye!

  • Dishanstc on December 29, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    Well I think Russ is absolutely spot on, but I think certain thinks needs to happen as far containing the indian batting they seem to seemlessly pull the rabbit out of the hat every time they find theyselves in a spot of bother thats mainly because of the confidence they have in the like of Gambhir,Yuvi and Dhoni having said that they have chinx in thier batting as well,I think the srilankans tried to exploit that potential loop hole in thier batting in the faourth game that was to bounce them up,this was a technic well used by the South Africans during the T20 World cupin England, I feel the likes of Suranga Lakmal, Chanka Welagadara and thilan thushara can do it pretty well they have the pace and the height to get the steep disoncerting bounce, Russ failed to mention the one name that was of thisara perera, I personna;y feel he is our yuvraj the game breaker he is strong lad who can bowl seam up and do the bouncers pretty well.any way all the best for the lankans in the comming year

  • HLANGL on December 29, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    Well... Not sure how many have understood the root cause of the issue. This result has to be expected, doesn't matter how hard it to be swallowed. All major teams around these days have quality attacking batsmen, NOT the sloggers, who can counterattack on a consistent basis. How many such batsmen SL have now ? None, except Dilshan. Sadly, the best option Jayasuriya is out of form, but even worse is neither the selection panel nor the over-complacent team leadership doesn't plant any confidence in this once legendary batsman. For a batsman of his nature, considering the amount of risk he takes in his stroke play, he needs to have the confidence in his ability. Now, no one cares him or keeps faith in his ability. As a player, that's the worst thing you can expect. Don't forget, he's the man who scripted SL's last major triumph (Asia Cup '08). Can we expect that ability from S'kara or Mahela ? Their batting has certain reservations & limitations in 90% of the games.