England v SL, Champions Trophy, Group B, Jo'burg September 25, 2009

Sri Lanka pay for faulty selection

Sri Lanka's ace spinner has had a poor tournament, a solitary wicket and bundles of runs leaked at pace
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If emotions and the rest of it didn't come into it, Kumar Sangakkara would have some straightforward decisions to make for the game against New Zealand, which they must now win to make the semi-finals. But human beings without emotion are not human beings at all, and so whatever decisions he does take between now and Sunday will likely be among the most difficult ones he has had to make the short time he has been captain.

On the face of it, Muttiah Muralitharan should be dropped; he has had a poor tournament, a solitary wicket and bundles of runs leaked at pace. He has not looked quite with it, truth be told; probably if you stood close by you might not even hear the low, ominous whir of his usual deliveries. He has missed that very thing that makes him - that snap in his spin, in his wrists, the devil in his eyes. Perish the thought but has he even looked robotic? England played him comfortably, even daring to go after him, and that can never be a good sign for any spinner.

And the Wanderers in this mood simply demands another pace option. Not often do you drop your fast bowler when he is in the form of his life, but such are the peculiar dilemmas of Sri Lanka's depth that Thilan Thushara has not so far played a part here. Sangakkara must know he has to play him against New Zealand, if conditions and the surface are as they were tonight. Ajantha Mendis has looked the better spinner and the rest of the attack has performed so who to drop but Murali?

But Muttiah Muralitharan - Murali, legend, icon, great, national hero - cannot be dropped so easily. One of the downsides of greatness is not knowing how much rope to give it as time nears its end; in greatness when does a momentary lack of form become a more permanent and fatal condition? He's done it so many times before after all, and the odds that he does it again cannot be that long.

Sanath Jayasuriya's place may not be as much a predicament simply because the space he occupies in Sri Lankan cricket is altogether different; anyway he is at a more advanced point in his career than Murali. And concerns about his form are not new. If we want to be ruthless about it, then he averages barely over 10 outside the subcontinent over the last two years and half that here. To a lesser degree, the Jayasuriya question is similar to Murali's. What if one of those prods outside off takes an edge, goes over point for six and sparks carnage?

Not often do you drop your fast bowler when he is in the form of his life, but such are the peculiar dilemmas of Sri Lanka's depth that Thilan Thushara has not so far played a part here

The matters are delicate, and tellingly the question wasn't raised post-match though Sangakkara did allude to it. "We'll have to sit down and have a think. There are lots of good players on the bench waiting to have a look. Come training tomorrow, we'll have a think, worry about it a bit more, a bit longer and probably make the obvious decision when the time comes to make that decision."

The smoothness of Sangakkara does have an edge to it. You can imagine him being gung-ho about it and taking the decision, though until he makes it, it is just that: imagination. Whatever decision he takes will in the process reveal a fair bit more about him and his leadership.

None of this is to apportion blame for triumph and failure are collective. The top order failed today and Sri Lanka's fielding was some way off its own energetic standards. Whatever was right about Sri Lanka came from the young, a signal maybe to Sangakkara of which path to take. "[Thilina] Kandamby and [Angelo] Mathews have been very impressive for the whole of the last year, and they've been great in the A and international side. We've sort of sorted out the middle order problem, now we have to get everyone firing at the same time."

But haste is of essence. It is one of the painful beauties of this tournament that one match can bring upon such headaches. There is no time for sentiment or emotion. Get the team wrong again on Sunday and you might be out.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sageleaf on September 27, 2009, 18:56 GMT

    Anderson2010...I wonder what team you support? And I sincerely hope NONE! The last TRI nation we lost to India in the final. Unfortunately who ever bats second at Premadasa Stadium has not done well. If you go back a bit to the previous match we won against India batting first. I agree with you on one, that's dropping Murali. But I prefer our mediocre cricketers to so called top players. India lost to Pakistan after having one of the best one day units. Shane bond goes for 82 runs in 9 overs. England is really doing well right now after having a pathetic series with Australia. What about out first match vs. South Africa. When you have high scoring test match it's difficult to get a decision. And remember the entire top playing cricket teams have played with minnows and couldn't score what we scored. Australia lost to Bangladesh under Ricky Ponting. Mathew Hayden broke Lara's record against Zimbabwe by scoring 380.

  • Sageleaf on September 27, 2009, 14:42 GMT

    Sadly, Sri Lanka lacks so many things right now. The senior experience players are not performing in lively pitches. Sangakkara's field placing is so horrible and also he should not keep wickets in any format. Our main three front line pace bowlers lack of direction and intelligence. I wonder what they learn in practice sessions and do they watch any tapes of other teams? It's seems Sri Lanka is going down badly. Most of the fans comments here are true. If you just listen to commentators, you could learn a lot. But how come the coach, the team management, selection committee and the captain doesn't see the real picture? Just wait until we tour India for the test and limited over series later this year. It will be a very testing period for Kulasekera, Thushara, Malinga and also Mendis. Mendis should be dropped from the side because for his pathetic fielding. Representing your country at highest level should be an honour and perseverance is the key to success not attitudes and egos.

  • anderson2010 on September 27, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    Sageleaf. So thats what it comes down to? highest test score?ODI score? ODI and t20 was against minnowas and did they actually win the test match where they scored highest total. LOL. No wonder they have such a pathetic record outside sri lanka. What happned in last tri series? what happned in 3 previous series against india? You saw what happened when mediocre cricketers decide to drop a real class of murali.

  • anderson2010 on September 27, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    Sri Lanka have 2 good cricketers Murali and Jayasuria. They decided to leave one of them out against new zealand. What a silly mistake. Mendis is not even in the same league as Murali. Murali is in premiership, where as mendis is a school grade bowler compared to him. Less we say about malinga the better. Malinga gave away 80 runs in 10 overs against india and today he went even better. This must be the joke of the century. Oh we are so good, we will leave murali out and play thusara instead. Ha Ha Ha... This has really cracked me up. Sanga, Jayvardena and dilshan can't negotiate the moving ball and they have temerity to leave out the best spinner ever? LOL

  • jaga09 on September 27, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    SL should drop Sanath (because of poor form) and Murali (to rest) and select Thushara and Kapugedara. either mahela or sangakkara should open the batting with Dilshan and send kapu at no 3 and see how he goes

  • Shash28 on September 27, 2009, 4:35 GMT

    This is madness :P there are way too many things to consider before you come to the point that Murali's lost it or losing it... Sure the conditions weren't right for him, sure the batting let them down (I don't think England's line-up would have fared any better judging from their recent past) and you must remember this is he's second game since injury and to what extent that is hampering a bowler and it always does more so than a batsmen... is a huge question in it-self. So, should SL play Murali agains NZ? To my knowledge, isn't the game at Centurian - if not no, probably the third seamer... don't think it's too harsh - it's one game, a must win at that and why not let Murali have a bit of a rest... it's great to have SOLID bowling options anyway. And as for Chandau comments about SA in Centurion, I think it was the whole Gauteng vs CSA problem...

  • trinity04 on September 27, 2009, 4:08 GMT

    well said sageleaf i do agree with you..anp guys murali goes bad for two matches and every one goes nuts....murali had the best economy rate in the t20 world cup and he bowled exeptionaly well with mendis this is just a temporary glitch coz he coming from an injury so people please stop whinig about murali...and sanath has the full backing of everyone im sure hell perform well

  • ShawnB on September 26, 2009, 23:37 GMT

    Sri Lanka did not lose because of a faulty selection; they lost due to their inept batting at the top of the order on a lively track, against extra bounce and swing that was readily available throughout the morning session.

  • Sachmaster on September 26, 2009, 22:29 GMT

    Simple. Play Thushara and drop Murali. Lankan top order also needs to fire. When on swinging pitches, they had no idea. Dilshan can't be patient and Sanath is past his used by date. Jayasuriya 0 bowled Bond. Strauss was nice to call back Mathews, but probably shouldn't have. Mathews made a bit of a fuss.

  • Sageleaf on September 26, 2009, 21:31 GMT

    Sri Lankan cricketers do not have to represent Australia, India or South Africa. Our so called mediocre cricketer have won a world cup within 15 years gaining test status and also have been in to the finals of the last ICC world cricket tournaments. We also have the highest Test score, ODI score and T20 score and counting. Just go to Guinness book of world records and browse through cricket, you may not believe what you see. The present Test, ODI rankings as well as in batting and bowling is also true testament to how good our mediocre cricketers are. Unlike England playing cricket since the previous century and not winning a single ICC tournament, Sri Lankan cricketers are great and has character and perseverance as one of the best teams in the world. Losing one game has only one impact and that is learning from our mistakes in order to perform better in the following game. The flat track bullies will deliver when it matters

  • Sageleaf on September 27, 2009, 18:56 GMT

    Anderson2010...I wonder what team you support? And I sincerely hope NONE! The last TRI nation we lost to India in the final. Unfortunately who ever bats second at Premadasa Stadium has not done well. If you go back a bit to the previous match we won against India batting first. I agree with you on one, that's dropping Murali. But I prefer our mediocre cricketers to so called top players. India lost to Pakistan after having one of the best one day units. Shane bond goes for 82 runs in 9 overs. England is really doing well right now after having a pathetic series with Australia. What about out first match vs. South Africa. When you have high scoring test match it's difficult to get a decision. And remember the entire top playing cricket teams have played with minnows and couldn't score what we scored. Australia lost to Bangladesh under Ricky Ponting. Mathew Hayden broke Lara's record against Zimbabwe by scoring 380.

  • Sageleaf on September 27, 2009, 14:42 GMT

    Sadly, Sri Lanka lacks so many things right now. The senior experience players are not performing in lively pitches. Sangakkara's field placing is so horrible and also he should not keep wickets in any format. Our main three front line pace bowlers lack of direction and intelligence. I wonder what they learn in practice sessions and do they watch any tapes of other teams? It's seems Sri Lanka is going down badly. Most of the fans comments here are true. If you just listen to commentators, you could learn a lot. But how come the coach, the team management, selection committee and the captain doesn't see the real picture? Just wait until we tour India for the test and limited over series later this year. It will be a very testing period for Kulasekera, Thushara, Malinga and also Mendis. Mendis should be dropped from the side because for his pathetic fielding. Representing your country at highest level should be an honour and perseverance is the key to success not attitudes and egos.

  • anderson2010 on September 27, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    Sageleaf. So thats what it comes down to? highest test score?ODI score? ODI and t20 was against minnowas and did they actually win the test match where they scored highest total. LOL. No wonder they have such a pathetic record outside sri lanka. What happned in last tri series? what happned in 3 previous series against india? You saw what happened when mediocre cricketers decide to drop a real class of murali.

  • anderson2010 on September 27, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    Sri Lanka have 2 good cricketers Murali and Jayasuria. They decided to leave one of them out against new zealand. What a silly mistake. Mendis is not even in the same league as Murali. Murali is in premiership, where as mendis is a school grade bowler compared to him. Less we say about malinga the better. Malinga gave away 80 runs in 10 overs against india and today he went even better. This must be the joke of the century. Oh we are so good, we will leave murali out and play thusara instead. Ha Ha Ha... This has really cracked me up. Sanga, Jayvardena and dilshan can't negotiate the moving ball and they have temerity to leave out the best spinner ever? LOL

  • jaga09 on September 27, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    SL should drop Sanath (because of poor form) and Murali (to rest) and select Thushara and Kapugedara. either mahela or sangakkara should open the batting with Dilshan and send kapu at no 3 and see how he goes

  • Shash28 on September 27, 2009, 4:35 GMT

    This is madness :P there are way too many things to consider before you come to the point that Murali's lost it or losing it... Sure the conditions weren't right for him, sure the batting let them down (I don't think England's line-up would have fared any better judging from their recent past) and you must remember this is he's second game since injury and to what extent that is hampering a bowler and it always does more so than a batsmen... is a huge question in it-self. So, should SL play Murali agains NZ? To my knowledge, isn't the game at Centurian - if not no, probably the third seamer... don't think it's too harsh - it's one game, a must win at that and why not let Murali have a bit of a rest... it's great to have SOLID bowling options anyway. And as for Chandau comments about SA in Centurion, I think it was the whole Gauteng vs CSA problem...

  • trinity04 on September 27, 2009, 4:08 GMT

    well said sageleaf i do agree with you..anp guys murali goes bad for two matches and every one goes nuts....murali had the best economy rate in the t20 world cup and he bowled exeptionaly well with mendis this is just a temporary glitch coz he coming from an injury so people please stop whinig about murali...and sanath has the full backing of everyone im sure hell perform well

  • ShawnB on September 26, 2009, 23:37 GMT

    Sri Lanka did not lose because of a faulty selection; they lost due to their inept batting at the top of the order on a lively track, against extra bounce and swing that was readily available throughout the morning session.

  • Sachmaster on September 26, 2009, 22:29 GMT

    Simple. Play Thushara and drop Murali. Lankan top order also needs to fire. When on swinging pitches, they had no idea. Dilshan can't be patient and Sanath is past his used by date. Jayasuriya 0 bowled Bond. Strauss was nice to call back Mathews, but probably shouldn't have. Mathews made a bit of a fuss.

  • Sageleaf on September 26, 2009, 21:31 GMT

    Sri Lankan cricketers do not have to represent Australia, India or South Africa. Our so called mediocre cricketer have won a world cup within 15 years gaining test status and also have been in to the finals of the last ICC world cricket tournaments. We also have the highest Test score, ODI score and T20 score and counting. Just go to Guinness book of world records and browse through cricket, you may not believe what you see. The present Test, ODI rankings as well as in batting and bowling is also true testament to how good our mediocre cricketers are. Unlike England playing cricket since the previous century and not winning a single ICC tournament, Sri Lankan cricketers are great and has character and perseverance as one of the best teams in the world. Losing one game has only one impact and that is learning from our mistakes in order to perform better in the following game. The flat track bullies will deliver when it matters

  • saffyboy on September 26, 2009, 16:48 GMT

    I have to agree with Sniper 009. Osman Samiuddin, I just wonder what you say today about Harbhajan Sings performance against Pakistan. He went for 71 runs, and in return had just one scalp. Does that make him a spinner, who's on a downward trend?

    I also think England were also lucky to get a seaming wicket, but they still played better to outplay the Srilankans. English bowlers used the seaming conditions I should say better than the Srilankans.

    Murali like any other player in the world is first a human being before a cricketer. So it's natural all of us to lose a bit and go through a lean patch, have a few bad days at the office. It's not the end of the world is it? Osman Samiuddin, I don't usually read your articles but just read this, for the headline and I am a Srilankan fan.

    However, I have to say, even though you are fortunate to be seeing live cricket while you write, you still have a long way to go before bringing the Jury out on players like Murali.

  • Vansan on September 26, 2009, 16:28 GMT

    Dont you complain about pitches.As said here Sri Lanka cannot afford loosing Murali because Mendis/Murali needs each other to attack and get wickets.If they play one spinner, the opposition needs to see off just 10 overs and they will be happy to get around 35 - 45 in those ten overs and compensate with the rest 40.

    To GOMEZ and chandau. Guys dont you know that Dambulla pitch is being slowed down for Sri Lanka to win matches. If you guys want to stay competitive u must be able to play in any surfaces. If you cant produce seamers who can swing in green top why u call yourself as genuine pace attack. Also you cant complain. If you defeated the tournament favorites, it doesn't mean u must be given tracks to win all matches.

    Dont any one of here think that Mathews should be called OUT for obstructing the field :)). I wish to see more green tops all over the nations to see the subcontinent greats to have their genuinity check to be claimed as a great.

  • anderson2010 on September 26, 2009, 14:11 GMT

    As yesterday's match proved it, Sri Lanka simply dont have quality batsmen like Australia, South Africa or India. Their fast bowlers are not effective either. If number one bowler kulasekra and malinga can't do anything what exactly was thusara going to achieve. Blame for yesterdays defeat must go to flat track bullies like dilshan,jayvardena, sangakara etc. They were pathetic at first sight of moving ball. People are also giving too much respect to mendis. He has already been put into his place by pakistanis and indians. In fact in last odi that he played against india he went for 70 runs and maliga gave away 80. LOL

  • auggie on September 26, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    Sangakarra had Dilshan and samaraweera as support spinners yet he did not give them a bowl. Murali should have been taken off after 8 overs and Mendis given 10. Sangakarra is a copy cat copying all of Jayawardenes stubborn and unimaginative tactics, Wish sience could rejunivate Ranatunge and bring him into the team as capatin again!

  • KP_84 on September 26, 2009, 11:56 GMT

    The decision to play two spinners in South Africa certainly seems 'faulty'. Sri Lanka need another bowler with extra pace to go with Lasith Malinga; someone like Dilhara Fernando or Dammika Prasad. The lack of swing in S.Africa diminishes the credentials Kulasekara and Thushara. If the side were picked purely on form, Jayasuriya would surely make way for Mahela Udawatte.

  • V.GOMES on September 26, 2009, 11:55 GMT

    What we should be investigating is not the Sri Lankan selection, its the South African / ICC tournamant organizers for giving such a green surface to play on. This group is going to comedown to the net runrate. It is too much of a coincidence that after a SA loss, SL and Endland we set such an awefull green trach to play in. Win or lose, both teams were guranteed to end up with a low run rate, thus boosting SA's chances of qualifying. It would be interesting to see if South Africa gets to play their last game against England on a green track like this, where by winning the toss England cannarrow the gap being the underdog. So far SA has not played in any bowlers pitches. Shame of SA and tournament organizers,. their intentions are too abvious.

  • chandau on September 26, 2009, 11:41 GMT

    Thank u ENGLISH BEN for setting the record straight. The pitch was too seamer friendly, like one u would get at the start of the county season. The tall guys were good though Sri Lanka were just out flanked not expecting such a pitch after all the talk from South Africa of batting wickets. Now after watching Auzzy batter getting hit all over their bodies, it was a creditable performance from our guys. Tim Paiine has more pain in his fingers and thighs, punter has a few bruises midships. These are the so called batsmen brought up on fast & Bouncy wickets. So how come the home team plays all their matches at Centurion??? Are not all teams equal in this event and given there are only 2 venues surely all teams shud play at least one match in either venue!!!

  • auggie on September 26, 2009, 11:41 GMT

    Osman speaks of Murali taking one solitary wicket as if though the Sl team has played several matches. He seems to be hell bent on getting Murali dropped! Murali has been thrashed before in matches so has the other spinning legend Warne, but they always come back. Jayasuriya has also been gleefully written off by many of the so called experts but he always comes back and makes fools of his detracters. No Sanga and the selectors...Persist with Murali and Jayasuriya and you will yet see a turn around. Thushara, yes bad luck but perhaps try him out instead of Malinga at least for one match, not that there are many matches to experiment with! Sangakarra himself and Jayawardene should also be putting question marks against their 'holy' names. Sangakarra chasing wides and getting out like a fool is not encouraging to his team mates. Jayawardene always has poor tournaments in World cup and ICC tournaments.

  • Mutukisna on September 26, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    Sangakkara is a thinking captain, not short term. I think the reason why he persevered with Murali was because the great bowler was short of match practice through injury, the match was already lost, and Sanga decided to give him a good bowl out in order to prepare him for the next match and hopefully the semi-final and beyond. The wisdom of the captain's thinking will manifest itself soon.

    On the match, one cannot blame Dilshan as that is the way he always plays. I was a bit disappointed with Mahela's attempted flick so early in his innings and Sanga chasing the ball on the offside which would have been called a wide had he left it.

  • sukriyat on September 26, 2009, 9:47 GMT

    Its not about big names, and the big players, its all abt form. Dilshan has been in form of his life, and with him departing early, Srl Lanka tumbled on. Also how can u keep a good all rounder Thusara out warming the bench. Ideally would luv to see Murali and Jayasuriya dropped, and in come Kapugedra and Thusara. Also Sri Lanka might be benefited if Kandamby who is in good form come up the order and play as many overs as possible. But on the other hand we have Newzeland who need to win both their next encounter, and with likes of Bond, Tuffey, and Vettori, the opposite team batting need to show class. Also is it right making Dilshan open, as he is a quick fire , in the middle / late order, and can really change gears when needed in the later part of the game. If he gets our early to the moving deliveries, then SL really need to think over playing him at the top of the order.

  • randikaayya on September 26, 2009, 9:28 GMT

    @ anderson2010: - typical Indian prejudice we've been reading of late here! The argument is about the lack of form of Sri Lanka's evergreens Murali and Sanath, and you HAD to bring an Indian analogy into it to make a point irrelevant to the topic :) Such is the state of the Indian fan these days. On topic SIMPLY Sanath goes, Mahela gets promoted to opener and Kapugedara comes in between Kandambi and Mathews to strengthen the middle order. Both spinner should get dropped and the consistently fast Prasad and Thushara get a go against New Zealand. Sri Lanka are in need of refreshing, bold changes taking out the emotional aspect of it all.

  • Sniper009 on September 26, 2009, 8:58 GMT

    SL vs Eng match was a pleasure. People keep writing off senior players who are national icons due to their glorious past but who suffer from poor form in the current tournament. However, their performance needs to be analysed on match to match level. i am a big fan of Jayasuriya & Murali, but seeing yesterdays game againt Engaland, i felt that SL team did their job well. They nearly had all their plans working with England gagged at 20/2 at end of the10th over. However, credit must be given to the two England batsmen, Collingwood and Shah for their extraordinary batting skills. Collingwood truely deserved the man of the match award, with his watchful innings of 46 runs, coming at the most difficult times and setting the stage for an English win. The batting of O Shah was also truly impressive, reading the Mendis and Murali deliveries quite impressively. Though SL had a truly formidable side, probably they underestimated the skills of the English side, which cost them the match.

  • EnglishBen on September 26, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    Well lets bring some English perspective upon this. After the ashes I felt that our young team had a good chance to show the Australians what we could do in ODI's, and grab the bull by the horns. Unfortunately we just got same old England.

    I have to admit that after watching the South Africa game, I thought that England would be destroyed by Mendis and Dilshan etc. All I must say is many thanks to the groundsman for giving us an April greentop!!! It was predictable that Anderson would bowl well, he must always want to come back and play in South Africa... Onions performed admirably but then got a bit over- excited and Broad was dissapointing.

    But the stars of the day was Collingwood, and the up-to-know innocuous Eoin morgan, both performed averagely during the Australian series. Hopefully this is the first steps to Colly regaining some decent form as he has been scratchy ever since the lords ashes test, and Morgan just showed what he can do!

    C'mon England

  • Subra on September 26, 2009, 8:21 GMT

    No blame should be attached to the Sri Lankan cricketers. The person to be blamed is Gary Kirksten and his "SEX BEFORE PLAYING CRICKET" theory.

    The English cricketers got a sneak preview, had an orgy or two, and with the testosterone flowing, made mincemeat of the SL top order - 7 for 4, after which SL were on the back foot. The dew did not help the SL slow bowlers.

    Siva from Singapore

  • anderson2010 on September 26, 2009, 8:05 GMT

    I disagree with the writer. Sri Lanka have always been pathetic team outside sri lanka. You check the stats of Jayavardena in test matches outside sri lanka. Their whole batting revolves around flat track bullies. They will always struggle when the ball is moving as they do not have batsmen like Dravid or Tendulkar to negotiate the moving ball. For all their posturing, do not forget that Sri Lanka have been completely and utterly hammered by India in last few ODI series even in Sri Lanka, Which was unthinkeble in Ranatunga years. It doesn't matter who they play, they wont go very far with such mediocre cricketers. Barring Murali and Jayasuria they do not have even a half decent cricketer. Who can get into Australia, India or South Africa team.

  • ca2ca on September 26, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    England won the toss and did everything correct in bowling & batted sensibly while Sri Lankan top batmen with thier vast experience failed to cope with thses pitches & conditions but rather too hasty or poor in shot selection & gave away wickets cheaply. It was sensible batting from less exposed middle & lower order got somewhat a decent score. Reg. Sanath & Murali are considered as national assets, so untouchables. Mahela escaped lashing for his wonderful inning against SA. Tight situations calls for tight decisions. If Sri Lanka wish to stay in the competition, they should select the team according ground conditons & form pf players. Not the players who deliver once in a blue moon.

  • chanrus on September 26, 2009, 7:50 GMT

    Some time it's happened to legends. And we had seen those kinds of articles. When they succeed those will change from bottom. murali had few times such this and he had over come from there. If not he cant be most wicket taker in world cricket at this time. So hope he will be baking his form soon. Remember murali have took wickets any kind of pitch and against every country. True is this is not his time. the next match if will play same pitch we will have to drop him to bring thusara for batter result to keep hope until end of icc champions. Then give the decisions to his hands to think is he stopping his spin at this time. I don't like if any one reminding such legends about there retirement. They knows THE TIME.

  • ChamJK on September 26, 2009, 7:47 GMT

    sri lanka bein set up!! hw come SA plays all their games in centurion?? if england played SL in centurion they wouldnt have stand a chance against the SL battin lineup

  • Philip_Gnana on September 26, 2009, 7:43 GMT

    The two greats who have single handedlly won so many games for SL are now under close srutiny. Sanath has been playing cricket right through the same cannot be said of Murali who has been plagued with injuries and not much match practice. When things get tough the tough get going. How can you just write off Murali??? You cannot write him off. May be he should not have been in the squad for match fitness that is a different point. I am puzzled by Sanga's captaincy here. When you are chasing such a low score to be persistant with the same bowlers when you did have other options such as Sanath and Dilshan not forgetting the Mathews had two overs to bowl too. The issues here was more of the changes in the bowling department to address the batting failure. All things were good when SA were beaten....and now all things are not so when SL loose? Tough decisions need to be made per the writer. But both cannot be dropped in the same match. Sanath yes, Murali not so. Philip Gnana, Surrey

  • chandau on September 26, 2009, 7:34 GMT

    There is no need to talk about retirement either of Sanath or Murali. Its common sense that means we need fast bowers in Jo'burg. Pity neither Dilhara nor Mahroof are there, even Malinga is not so good on that fast bouncy track. Pity Kule is not tall as he hits the seam. Pity Angie is not fast as he hits the seam. Pity the know it all selectors did not pick Mirando. Pity we lost the toss and got the worst of the wicket.Pity Morgan kept on nicking the ball without getting caught at slip or knocking down stumps. Pity Kanda was run out before we took power play. Its just one of those days where everything went wrong. Still our think tanks need to plan better , with 3 coaches , analysts and all. South Africa just got a rude shck at their own party and now back with a vengeance. Surely the Auzzy pace foursome will thrive at Wanderers. We have a mountain to climb, first lets thrash the black caps guys. Cheers Sri Lanka :) Upul Chandana

  • SachinIsTheGreatest on September 26, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    Samiuddinji, maybe some kidology here? Maybe SL lost because they want to knock SA out of the tournament and that will happen if England are thrown in the mix? And anyway, SL would thrash the Kiwis, Kyon?

  • peduru on September 26, 2009, 5:58 GMT

    this article is pretty much spot on. but if sanath is having a hard time at the top of thr order, why are they keeping him there. Do what dhony did in the compaq cup final. do a swith in the batting order, drop sanath down the order and put the inform mahela at the opening position. so when sanath comes in, it will be a different ball game to the opposition all together. its always easy to critisize but looking for a solution seems to be the biggest problem for anyone. FYI: dilhara should never be back in the team just to play on one pitch, thou he may be able to contain a batsman with his bowling, he will give the runs away with his fielding. thilina thushara is a good option since he can slog and field as well. murali on the other hand should give way to a younger spinner or thilina thushara. but definetely sri lanka should check out mahela udwatta as opener or put in kapugedara as opener so sanaga has another bowling option up his sleeve. it was just a bad day at the office.

  • RezaThahir on September 26, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    In this wicket Morgan played a much more sensibly. he waited for the bal rather than reaching for it, he was the best batsmen on this wicket yesterday. Wut a find for england, surely he's the next graham thorpe, i admire his shot selection. Sangakkara didnt have a slip when morgan edged one for boundary from muralitharan. Why didnt muralitharan didnt bowl his doosra's till the wicket of shah. he should have bowling those doosras right from the word go. Kulasekara is predictable with his in dippers, also due to lack of pace he couldnt extract bounce from the pitch to cause trouble. the good sign for sri lanka is that their faulty middle order for the last 3 years has being a strong point with the foam samaraweera, kandambi & mathews. Surely SL will go places though they lost this match.

  • Shafi79 on September 26, 2009, 5:37 GMT

    Santy - Nothing to get emotional about mate, he's just stating the obvious we played the wrong tream on a green top. We needed more fast bowlers, and the sad part is that we have plenty of good quickies on the bench. Now i might even go as far as suggesting that for Sundays game we drop both our spinners and play Thushara & Prasad, such was the nature of the pitch, but will SL be bold enough to do it?

  • Aahd on September 26, 2009, 5:37 GMT

    @ santywant2win: I don't think Osman said it was game over for Murli, mate. The point being made was that the selection for this particular pitch wasn't great. You don't need two spinners on it. That type of selection cost Pakistan at least 50 runs the other day against WI because they did't need Saeed Ajmal on that track. Another fast bowler would have been handy. Afridi and Malik were spinners in the team by default anyhow. If Srilanka had played an orthadoz seam/swing bowler like Thushara for instance, they would have had a better chance in the game. Even Malinga was ineffective because of the way he bowls. It was a game where the big names didn't count...only the ability to utilize the conditions counted and the conditions just were not suited to spinners.

    PS: he did mention Jayasuria...batsmen are usually not affected by the pitch in the same manner as bowlers are though.

  • RezaThahir on September 26, 2009, 5:35 GMT

    SL should have dropped sanath & murali for Tharanga & Mirando. Sanath has never scored a fifty or a hundred in green top wicket. murali is strugging & if he had bowled a tight spell without taking a wicket things would have been different. What was the SL think tank were doing with their batting, definitely they knew this wicket has tennis ball bounce, they should have advice their top order becareful with their shot selection & they should have played the shots closer to their body. Dilshan should have used his sense, come on this is not the same wicket as like centuriaon, this is a difficult one to bat, wicket may fall in quick succession. But he rather went for his flamboyant batting & gifted his wicket. Sangakkara went for loose shot, mahela was stuggling with the movement, he should have stayed on his wicket leave the balls out side the offstump & play the seaming & moving ball closer to his body.

  • galaps on September 26, 2009, 5:18 GMT

    Sangakkar is a very good captain - this time he failed to appreciate to keep the field placings tight. He stuck to his formula of four fielders in the inner ring for Murali and leaked 5-6 runs an over - whih would have happened even if he was bowling well. So some of the damage was self inflicted.

  • R.AkKi.S on September 26, 2009, 5:16 GMT

    The form of a player is not determined by how he performs in a couple of matches. Guys like Sanath and Murali are not just any players. They are modern Legends of Sri Lankan Cricket. Maybe they are not firing at the moment, but it won't take too long for them to change things over. We should not forget their contributions, as allrounders. Jayasurya's part-time spin, has often been used in past as a match-winning option, and Murali has more often that not, played nice cameos when at crease.

    One should not be too hasty in writing such articles about players of this stature. They are there, because they know what they are doing. As far as "how much rope to give" is concerned, again, it should always be the player's call. A player of that experience, would know when he can't do it anymore, and would retire.

  • Daiya on September 26, 2009, 5:14 GMT

    I think that the best bet is for Murali to judge himself and his form. I think that he knows himself better than anyone and he will be good enough to bow out of Sundays game on his own (if he thinks his form is not good) and come back into the team much stronger after more bowling in the nets. That will be the best solution for SL, for the wizard to show his true love for Sri Lankan cricket. The question over Thushara def has to be asked. If he or another fast bowler was in the line up I believe that the score card would have been different. Perhaps they should give Sanath a break, get Thushara to open and tell him to get what ever runs he can. (it ll be almost the same as when Sanath has a bad day....something we have got accustomed to seeing in the recent past). SL have to learn from their mistakes and realize that on the faster surfaces they need to be flexible enough to drop the legends and play the youngsters. At the end of it nothing lost...lot to be gained through experience

  • cnkodda on September 26, 2009, 5:06 GMT

    it's obvious murali has to be dropped...come on, anyone with a brain understand the wicket ONLY helps the fast bowlers...even in the previous match(PAK vs WI)it was fast bowlers who performed...this the bad side when it comes to Sri Lanka, coz they only think about reputation not the facts or the stats....Sanath ,i this case should be given another chance since the all top order batsmen fail...but yet it's time to think out of the frame...(Kapugedara should be given a chance to open...so even if he gets a low score it doesn't matter as it's the same with sanath...but kapugedara has been in better form than sanath)

  • chandau on September 26, 2009, 5:00 GMT

    I've watched a lot of cricket this year Test, T20, 1 Day & I am pretty sure this is the liveliest wicket played on anywhere in the world !!! I am sad that with around 10 support staff Sri Lanka seems to have neither watched the POMS v AUZY series nor WI v Pak match !!! The strategy of AUZY vs England was to either bowl at the feet or the head (less frequently due to rules). Untill the last docile pitch it worked perfectly. Did anyone see how Amir, Gul and Tonge bowl at Wanderers??? They pitched it up and got the wickets. So who decided on our team selection?? Thushara shud have played for Murali simply because the pitch had nothing in it for a slow bowler. Even a laymen would have seen there was no difference in color between the pitch and the outfield. To make matters worse they won the toss and got all the juice to work for their tall fast bowlers. Two bowlers who would have done well Dilhara and Mahroof with their upright actions and high arms. Leran Sri Lanka Horses for Courses !

  • mfer on September 26, 2009, 4:02 GMT

    In my opinion , reason to the last night's loss is SL lacked a fast bowler who could exploit the conditions. I believe Dilhara is best man for the job. Yes hes not a good under pressure bowler, but there was plenty in the Wanderers pitch to be exploited. Two wickets in the middle could have made a big difference to the outcome of the match. Definitely Thushara or Prasad has to play the next game.It will be hard to drop Marali - hes being such a fine cricketer.But honestly Marali and Sanath both should be dropped for the next game. I'm sure both(Murali & Sanath) will fire when it comes to the Centurion wicket if SL get into the semi's there. I think the wicket should play a major role in selecting the side.

  • cricketsimpleton on September 26, 2009, 3:45 GMT

    Excuse me.. is this article was written when the author was in booze.. come on ..it was just 2 matches.. why anyone is not pointing at jayasuriya who is equally having a poor tournament.Murali is a master.. he rarely has bad games.. Bad games come for everyone. he will comeback soon.. and we will see another article saying like 'OLD MASTER DOES IT AGAIN FOR LANKA'.. dont create unnecessary hypes.

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  • cricketsimpleton on September 26, 2009, 3:45 GMT

    Excuse me.. is this article was written when the author was in booze.. come on ..it was just 2 matches.. why anyone is not pointing at jayasuriya who is equally having a poor tournament.Murali is a master.. he rarely has bad games.. Bad games come for everyone. he will comeback soon.. and we will see another article saying like 'OLD MASTER DOES IT AGAIN FOR LANKA'.. dont create unnecessary hypes.

  • mfer on September 26, 2009, 4:02 GMT

    In my opinion , reason to the last night's loss is SL lacked a fast bowler who could exploit the conditions. I believe Dilhara is best man for the job. Yes hes not a good under pressure bowler, but there was plenty in the Wanderers pitch to be exploited. Two wickets in the middle could have made a big difference to the outcome of the match. Definitely Thushara or Prasad has to play the next game.It will be hard to drop Marali - hes being such a fine cricketer.But honestly Marali and Sanath both should be dropped for the next game. I'm sure both(Murali & Sanath) will fire when it comes to the Centurion wicket if SL get into the semi's there. I think the wicket should play a major role in selecting the side.

  • chandau on September 26, 2009, 5:00 GMT

    I've watched a lot of cricket this year Test, T20, 1 Day & I am pretty sure this is the liveliest wicket played on anywhere in the world !!! I am sad that with around 10 support staff Sri Lanka seems to have neither watched the POMS v AUZY series nor WI v Pak match !!! The strategy of AUZY vs England was to either bowl at the feet or the head (less frequently due to rules). Untill the last docile pitch it worked perfectly. Did anyone see how Amir, Gul and Tonge bowl at Wanderers??? They pitched it up and got the wickets. So who decided on our team selection?? Thushara shud have played for Murali simply because the pitch had nothing in it for a slow bowler. Even a laymen would have seen there was no difference in color between the pitch and the outfield. To make matters worse they won the toss and got all the juice to work for their tall fast bowlers. Two bowlers who would have done well Dilhara and Mahroof with their upright actions and high arms. Leran Sri Lanka Horses for Courses !

  • cnkodda on September 26, 2009, 5:06 GMT

    it's obvious murali has to be dropped...come on, anyone with a brain understand the wicket ONLY helps the fast bowlers...even in the previous match(PAK vs WI)it was fast bowlers who performed...this the bad side when it comes to Sri Lanka, coz they only think about reputation not the facts or the stats....Sanath ,i this case should be given another chance since the all top order batsmen fail...but yet it's time to think out of the frame...(Kapugedara should be given a chance to open...so even if he gets a low score it doesn't matter as it's the same with sanath...but kapugedara has been in better form than sanath)

  • Daiya on September 26, 2009, 5:14 GMT

    I think that the best bet is for Murali to judge himself and his form. I think that he knows himself better than anyone and he will be good enough to bow out of Sundays game on his own (if he thinks his form is not good) and come back into the team much stronger after more bowling in the nets. That will be the best solution for SL, for the wizard to show his true love for Sri Lankan cricket. The question over Thushara def has to be asked. If he or another fast bowler was in the line up I believe that the score card would have been different. Perhaps they should give Sanath a break, get Thushara to open and tell him to get what ever runs he can. (it ll be almost the same as when Sanath has a bad day....something we have got accustomed to seeing in the recent past). SL have to learn from their mistakes and realize that on the faster surfaces they need to be flexible enough to drop the legends and play the youngsters. At the end of it nothing lost...lot to be gained through experience

  • R.AkKi.S on September 26, 2009, 5:16 GMT

    The form of a player is not determined by how he performs in a couple of matches. Guys like Sanath and Murali are not just any players. They are modern Legends of Sri Lankan Cricket. Maybe they are not firing at the moment, but it won't take too long for them to change things over. We should not forget their contributions, as allrounders. Jayasurya's part-time spin, has often been used in past as a match-winning option, and Murali has more often that not, played nice cameos when at crease.

    One should not be too hasty in writing such articles about players of this stature. They are there, because they know what they are doing. As far as "how much rope to give" is concerned, again, it should always be the player's call. A player of that experience, would know when he can't do it anymore, and would retire.

  • galaps on September 26, 2009, 5:18 GMT

    Sangakkar is a very good captain - this time he failed to appreciate to keep the field placings tight. He stuck to his formula of four fielders in the inner ring for Murali and leaked 5-6 runs an over - whih would have happened even if he was bowling well. So some of the damage was self inflicted.

  • RezaThahir on September 26, 2009, 5:35 GMT

    SL should have dropped sanath & murali for Tharanga & Mirando. Sanath has never scored a fifty or a hundred in green top wicket. murali is strugging & if he had bowled a tight spell without taking a wicket things would have been different. What was the SL think tank were doing with their batting, definitely they knew this wicket has tennis ball bounce, they should have advice their top order becareful with their shot selection & they should have played the shots closer to their body. Dilshan should have used his sense, come on this is not the same wicket as like centuriaon, this is a difficult one to bat, wicket may fall in quick succession. But he rather went for his flamboyant batting & gifted his wicket. Sangakkara went for loose shot, mahela was stuggling with the movement, he should have stayed on his wicket leave the balls out side the offstump & play the seaming & moving ball closer to his body.

  • Aahd on September 26, 2009, 5:37 GMT

    @ santywant2win: I don't think Osman said it was game over for Murli, mate. The point being made was that the selection for this particular pitch wasn't great. You don't need two spinners on it. That type of selection cost Pakistan at least 50 runs the other day against WI because they did't need Saeed Ajmal on that track. Another fast bowler would have been handy. Afridi and Malik were spinners in the team by default anyhow. If Srilanka had played an orthadoz seam/swing bowler like Thushara for instance, they would have had a better chance in the game. Even Malinga was ineffective because of the way he bowls. It was a game where the big names didn't count...only the ability to utilize the conditions counted and the conditions just were not suited to spinners.

    PS: he did mention Jayasuria...batsmen are usually not affected by the pitch in the same manner as bowlers are though.

  • Shafi79 on September 26, 2009, 5:37 GMT

    Santy - Nothing to get emotional about mate, he's just stating the obvious we played the wrong tream on a green top. We needed more fast bowlers, and the sad part is that we have plenty of good quickies on the bench. Now i might even go as far as suggesting that for Sundays game we drop both our spinners and play Thushara & Prasad, such was the nature of the pitch, but will SL be bold enough to do it?