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'India in a precarious position'
Sanjay Manjrekar reviews the action in Galle and says Virender Sehwag holds the key to India's fortunes in this Test (06:09)
July 20, 2010
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Sri Lanka v India, 1st Test, Galle, 3rd day
'India in a precarious position'July 20, 2010
Akhila Ranganna: Hello and welcome to Cricinfo. With me is Sanjay Manjrekar to look back at what has been an action packed first Test so far, between India and Sri Lanka in Galle.
Sanjay, given the rain we had yesterday, a draw looked like the most likely result. But looking at the way things have panned out today, with India losing three big wickets, do you think we could be looking at a result in this Test, weather permitting of course?
Sanjay Manjrekar: That is a very important line: weather permitting of course. It is almost impossible to even imagine that there could be two full days of play left without any rain at all in Galle. It is just that kind of a place. There is a good chance that we could have further interruptions and some play might be lost.
Bearing that in mind, India are still in a very precarious position. Virender Sehwag holds the key; not only will he keep India's hopes alive but he will also put the runs on the board and will make it slightly difficult for Kumar Sangakkara to make matters worse for India.
AR: Day one belonged to the Sri Lankan batsmen through and through while the Indian seamers looked a bit flat. But today, in the first session we saw a different look to the pace attack…
SM: Couple of good things happened for India. One is that the break came in at the right time, when the Sri Lankan batsmen were on the rampage. A break at that time always helps the bowling side. The batsmen like to get on with it when the form is good so that break of a whole day actually helped India's cause because the bowlers were able to take some rest and basically there was an interruption as far as the Sri Lankan batting was concerned.
Also, because of the rain around there was that little bit of moisture that came on to the surface and at the start of the day the seamers would have been feeling strong after a good day, so they used the little bit of help that was there off the surface. They bowled good lines and bowled with purpose. The fact that the new ball became immediately due in that session also helped. So all those matters helped India's cause. And you have to give the Indian seamers a lot of credit the way they tried to use whatever little advantage they had.
AR: What did you make of the way the frontline Indian spinners - Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha - bowled? Do you think they looked a little flat at times?
SM: Yes, especially because this pitch had something for the spinners. There was a little bite and turn and India will realise later in the series that there won't be too many surfaces in Sri Lanka that will give them such assistance off the pitch. Harbhajan got five wickets the last time he was here so the Indian spinners may have missed out on an opportunity. It is hard to put a finger on what went wrong. To have bowled almost 60 overs between them and having not picked up a wicket is something I am sure they will also be embarrassed about. I just got the feeling they were a bit too mechanical. They didn't bowl with purpose. The seamers showed a little more intent and intensity in just the way they ran in and were looking to make things happen. Ojha and Harbhajan - Harbhajan was on and off the field on day one - just didn't seem right together as a pair. They were just a bit too mechanical for me.
AR: Talking about missed opportunities, India would be kicking themselves for allowing that partnership between Rangana Herath and Lasith Malinga to flourish, given they had a good start to the day picking those early wickets. How crucial will that prove?
SM: If you look over the years, India have actually struggled to run through the tail. In fact a lot of the opposition bowling has struggled to dismiss the tail because most bowling attacks don't have two or three fast bowlers or great spinners playing at one time who can make the tailenders look bad. Somehow, if the tailender doesn't want to give his wicket away, he can hang in there and get some runs in today's cricket. What happened with India reflects an obvious weakness they have with their bowling. And that was bound to get exposed at some stage and I think Malinga and Herath took their chances and they all came off. It was purely because of India's bowling limitations. This is an attack that will get exposed on occasions.
|"To have bowled almost 60 overs between them and having not picked up a wicket is something I am sure the frontline Indian spinners will be embarrassed about. I just got the feeling they were a bit too mechanical. They didn't bowl with purpose" Sanjay Manjrekar on Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha|
AR: Finally, India have lost three of their frontline batsmen…what did you make of the way they looked?
SM: I thought the Sri Lanka started their innings very well - Malinga showed his class and that why he is such an exceptional bowler. He came and bowled two very accurate deliveries right at the start of the innings with the new ball and that can be a nightmare for any opening batsman, especially one who has been on the field the whole day. I thought Gautam Gambhir played the first ball really well; it was very identical to the second delivery; it was full, it had swing and was finishing up on middle stump so it was a great delivery to any new batsman. Gambhir played the first well, but was late on the second and played across the line, so it was a great delivery to get rid of him.
Rahul Dravid, I think, must be still dazed; he must be still wondering what happened with that run-out. The way he got out was just inexplicable. He trusted Sehwag completely with that second run, didn't make a decision on his own and paid the penalty for it. Sachin Tendulkar plays the sweep shot so often these days, but today he just misjudged the line and length.
But Sehwag, the most dangerous batsman in the world, is still out there and as long as he is out there Sangakkara is not going to be relaxing too much.
AR: Thanks Sanjay for your views.
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