Sri Lanka v India, tri-series, 5th ODI, Dambulla August 22, 2010

India's concerns shift to batting

India's bowling was the talking point during the Tests but the focus has turned to their weaknesses with the bat after two capitulations

During the Test series against Sri Lanka, there was plenty of talk about India's lack of back-up bowlers. In the tri-series, after folding twice without a fight, the focus is on the batting frailties.

The Indian team might point to some dodgy decisions - the umpire could have gone either way on Virender Sehwag's lbw, Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina didn't look to have nicked deliveries to the keeper, and Yuvraj Singh's vigil ended after being given out when struck well outside off while playing a shot - but there were still plenty of worrying signs.

It was by no means a treacherous pitch, certainly not one in which a top side should struggle to reach triple-digits. There was no dramatic swing around after the first few overs, yet all batsmen barring Yuvraj and to an extent Sehwag, struggled to middle the ball.

Karthik had a troubling time once his usual ploy of walking down the track was stifled by Kumar Sangakkara standing up to the stumps. He was searching for the ball outside off, beaten several times by Nuwan Kulasekara's mix of incutters and straighter ones.

Rohit Sharma's forgettable tournament continued after another unconvincing effort. The bulk of his runs came off two mishits - a leading edge for four through cover when he was aiming for midwicket, and a lofted miscue in front of point for a boundary when the intended target was extra cover. In the ninth over, he was looking to leave a delivery from Lasith Malinga outside off but was too late in withdrawing the bat, and the ball rolled off it towards backward point. An Angelo Mathews inswinger ended his stay, hitting him on the pads in front of middle.

Suresh Raina had a on-one-knee cover drive all along the ground that made you think a substantial stand was coming up between him and Yuvraj, but he too barely lasted. MS Dhoni usually likes to get going with a bunch of safe singles but there weren't any on Sunday, just a pair of streaky boundaries before giving Sangakkara his third catch of the innings. The overall effort raises questions about the middle-order's resilience, and its firefighting skills.

Another point to ponder for the management is whether No. 7 is too high a spot for Ravindra Jadeja, who again failed with the bat, and hasn't shown the ability to consistently either finish matches from that position or assist in rescue missions.

The one plus for India was the batting of the fit-again Yuvraj, a crucial component of the Indian middle order. He got going with an array of effortless off-drives, but once the wickets tumbled he switched to graft mode, making only two runs in 30 deliveries during one phase. After eight wickets were down, he started to show the flamboyant hitting with which he made his name including a breathtaking six over long-off, before he was adjudged lbw when attempting an outrageous shot towards square leg.

Asked about the umpiring decisions and their impact on the match, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara made his oft-repeated demand for the umpire-decision review system. "If everything has to be fair, use technology and make it even," Sangakkara said. "ICC should make technology compulsory because if some sides are using it and some series we are playing without it, I don't think that's right, everyone should use technology."

Dhoni offered no excuses for the defeat, praising the Sri Lankan bowlers for their accuracy. "We didn't get the kind of start we needed," he said. "Their bowlers bowled in the right channels, and pushed us into making the mistakes."

About the only thing which went right for Dhoni was that he won the toss for the first time on the tour, something which he has repeatedly said is crucial in Dambulla. It wasn't of much help on Sunday.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nitin on August 25, 2010, 16:31 GMT

    @nfer.. man don't live in dreams.. read the hard facts: About kicking out India from T20 world cup- India has won 1 out of 3 T20 World cups...what has Srilanka done?? About better team- India crushed Srilanka by 2-0 in India and drew by 1-1 in Srilanka. In ODIs India crushed Srilanka in Asia cup final & has 1-1 score so far with Srilanka in the ongoing tri-series. About Murli- u try to collect the opinions of cricket fans outside srilanka.... if u manage to get 2/10 votes in the favour of murli,s action, u may feel like a winner. I always admire good and fair cricket but your silly comments have provoked me for such comparisons.

  • Roypeter on August 25, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    Why India Stil go on with DINESH KARTHIK HE IS NOT EVEN A GOOD BATSMAN THEN HW CAN HE B AN OPENER. DO INDIA DOESN'T HAVE ANY GOOD OPENING BATSMAN HERE. I think Shiker dhavan, Manesh pandy, Abhinav Mukand all not playing in India thats Y selectors cant see them ha ha..............DK is A Real waste

    I thought whn sreekant became Selector He would provid some goods for team. Its realy diff from TV commendatory and Real work.

  • Ashish on August 25, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    Not saying that India lost because of poor umpiring, but Dharamsena surely is not a transparent umpire. His decisions are always lopsided. I bet most of his wrong decisions have benefited the SL team. The biggest example is when he gave a wrong decision being a third umpire recently, I don't remember which game but it was against India.

  • Deepu on August 24, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Well done to Sri Lanka - a wonderful display of team spirit and the confidence to win. Good teams are capable of playing in almost all conditions and adapt quickly and execute wins. India needs to start playing like true champions and not bask in undeserved glory. You need to first and foremost prove that you are world champions and start playing like champs. The Sri Lankan series has been demoralising for fans world over. To play well on one day and play terribly the next, is not a sign of champions. COME ON INDIA - CHAKE DE INDIA .......

  • sidharth on August 24, 2010, 15:46 GMT

    @nicolas - parera u have no right to make fun of someones name. if that so ur own name suggests u r half lankan and half baked african. anyway i m by no means srilankan

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2010, 12:25 GMT

    I just want to say one thing this team can't reach the super eight in 2011 WC.Bcoz many of our batsmen are not good enough to play against international teams.They can only play the slow straight deliveries.Now the situation is due to only IPL 20-20 games.Players are now playing for money not for their country.When we lose a game MR.DHONI says "we need rest" but he doesn't stop himself for playing his CSK team and there he doesn't need rest.Now it is perfect time for selectors to bring RAHUL DRAVID and VVS.LAXMAN back into ODI team.They deserve the ODI squad.And selectors please don't give any more chance to players like ISHANT SHARMA,ROHIT SHARMA,DINESH KARTIK,RAVINDRA JADEJA in international team bcoz they are not good enough to play international games.

  • Hemant on August 24, 2010, 8:19 GMT

    This will be the 305th comment, so I am directing it at various people in BCCI, The India coaches, captain and the individual players. There are 3 reasons that Sri Lanka beat the xxxx out of the India team. 1. BCCI - master business house of India - has arranged to extract as much juice out of the players and the game as they possibly can, and one of the many results have been too many games in Sri Lanka. Total boredom in the Indian Team. 2. Neither the batsmen (except for one, and he is not playing) nor the bowlers - all without exception - have "technique". Not a single batsman other than ye ole Tendulkar is technically sound. Hence the zadu maarna strategy that ALL have adopted! fie on you - Mr. batting coach. The bowlers - eek! are all followers of a famous leg spinner from yore: in Bombay (city). Bagun bagun taakato. was his honest response when asked about his success strategy. 3. All our players get too much bhav and acquire too much hava. a few exceptions ofcourse.

  • Mathew on August 24, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    All current Indian young cricketers are soft & spoiled as Wasim Akram said today. BCCI needs to do something immedietely before the 2011 WC. The whole team needs to be refurbished with immediete effect. Otherwise mark my word, India will not even reach the super Eight with this existing team. BCCI please ACT NOW.


  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2010, 7:46 GMT

    Yes.. Indian played a very bad game. They are so habituated to play T20s that even 50 over games also played like T20. And on the other hand Srilanka played with 12 men which includes Kumar Dharmasena the umpire.

  • Ajay on August 24, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    @ pak and sri lankan fans are more worried about India losing than their respective teams winning. Well common look at Pak they r yet to win a series from last 4 years, even with so called great bowling and Sri lanka they win 1 and lose 2 matches. India have beaten LAnka in lanka for the last 4 ODI tournaments. India have bowled out lanka in 3rd test with most inexperienced bowling, how can SL fans claim they r beeter than India.first win a test in india and then talk abt it.

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