India v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Nagpur December 17, 2009

Dead tracks prompt Jayawardene to bat for bowlers

Cricinfo staff

After more than 800 runs were plundered in the first ODI in Rajkot, Mahela Jayawardene has called for lifting restrictions on bowlers, including relaxing the one-bouncer-an-over rule and leniency in the definition of a wide in ODIs.

"I have always been critical of the fact that bowlers now have to bowl in the 'strike zone' basically," Jayawardene said ahead of the second one-dayer in Nagpur. "You can't bowl down the leg side. Anything outside the off stump is a wide.

"With the Power Plays and all the restrictions it's important we give bowlers leverage as well. Another option would be to give them another bouncer. Give them two bouncers an over. Restrictions are probably easing up and have given them a bit more in third Power Play. But we need to balance it out a bit more."

It has been a batsman-dominated tour so far, with big runs scored in the Tests and Twenty20s. In the first ODI on Tuesday, Sri Lanka fell three short of overhauling India's 414, which would have made it the second-highest successful chase ever.

Jayawardene expected plenty of runs in Nagpur as well but said the bigger size of the ground should make the totals lower than in the first ODI. "It was a really good wicket at Rajkot. It was a fast outfield and smaller ground. History shows it's a high scoring ground," he said. "Here it's a bigger ground but a really good wicket as well. We need to adjust to that and to the different combinations. It's a fresh start."

India's batting unit is working well and the loss of three first-choice bowlers - Muttiah Muralitharan, Thilan Thushara and Dilhara Fernando - to injury adds to Sri Lanka's worries. Jayawardene, though, was confident the replacement bowlers would step up. "I don't see a problem. Obviously injuries in the past have taken good players away from us but we have not stopped playing or winning. It's a good opportunity for another guy to show what he's capable of."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • g on December 19, 2009, 11:26 GMT

    its not just in India the ICC in general expect all grounds to be made batting friendly. This is ruining the game. ICC believe that high scoring games with balls sailing over the boundary all the time will bring more spectators like the T20's.

    Its all about the money !! The theory is going to backfire on them in time to come

  • Rajasundram on December 18, 2009, 13:23 GMT

    Mahela was making a statement about the nature of the game and how the balance could be shifted slightly in favour of the bowlers.

    He was not trying to score more, and it is a pity that a number of writers have stoopped to such a level.

    Mahela is one of the rare (in these days) of a genuine cricketer - he plays and upholds the spirit of the game.

    No more criticisms of Mahela, just comments on how to make sure that the bowler does not become an extinct species.

    One suggestion is to allow bowlers a maximum of 13 overs, so that a minimum of 4 bowlers would be necessary and the easy pickings from the 5th removed. Also allow one more fielder outside the circle at all stages of the game

    Siva from Singapore

  • Amit on December 18, 2009, 8:49 GMT

    I agree with Jaya.Very valid point. Gone are the days when even 250 plus was a defendable score. I definitely like the speed the game has caught. But sad part is, its a lop-sided speed. Over the years, batsmen have been given more liberty with the introduction of Power play and free hit. ICC needs to do sth for the bowlers. So far as pitches are concerned in India, lesser discussion is better. Its a heaven for batsmen but not for cricket. God knows when BCCI will understand that India is a cricket playing nation and it includes other half called "THE BOWLERS"...

  • Umesh on December 18, 2009, 7:16 GMT

    Bowlers should be given free hand to throw(bowl) the ball at the batsmen. There should not be any angle restriction for bending the elbow or wrist. Bowlers should allowed to officially bowl like as in baseball...Then you will see equal contest between bat and ball...

  • Rajeev on December 18, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    yes exactly right mahela,i agree with your comments in the indian sub continent most fo the cricket pitches are being changed to batting friendly,so this is no good for helthhy cricket -if they continue this all the fans will be disapponit and try to skip watching matches.In this tour most of the batsman were done good job.but any bowlers did their job as good.noeeeeeee from both team.

  • JOSEPH on December 18, 2009, 5:24 GMT

    I agree with Jayawardhene. Does one sided contest makes veiwing interesting?. On these flat wickets, a team doesnt need specialist bowlers. They can include 11 specialist batsmen and ask them to roll their arms over. It doesnt make much a difference. Seeing this would aspiring players, like to become a bowler in these coditions. ICC needs to look into this matter more seriously.

  • dj on December 18, 2009, 5:20 GMT

    Agree 100% . Runfest games are a total snore.

    Have barely watched any of the SL vs India stuff due to the amazing NZ vs Paki series.

  • Mohan on December 18, 2009, 4:15 GMT

    Make the Pitches lively in SubContinent also. Anyway with powerplays, all the teams will be playing 3 fastbowlers. Allow one more fielders outside the 30yard circle in all the powerplays. All these will give bowlers relief

  • sean on December 18, 2009, 3:57 GMT

    Mahela over the years has had serious problem with that length just outside that off stump, he gets away with that weakness in slow pictches because he has time to adjust but when the pitch is bit faster he is in trouble. To be considered as a world class player he also has to score runs when it really matters. He is not a match winner, a very stylish 30 runs off 39 balls doesnt win you matches. He doesnt perform when it really matters even in that last match eventhough it was a run out the pressure is what prompted him to go for the second run which was not on.

    Ya ICC should do something to help bowlers otherwise by the age 50 they will all die, high blood pressures.

  • Kalum on December 18, 2009, 3:33 GMT

    Even on that dead pitch SANA and Mahela looked clueless.If mahela could have gathered seven runs out of eight balls Sri lanka would have had the famous victory.Even on a dead pitch you have to be very smart.

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