Sri Lanka v India, 2nd ODI, Hambantota July 23, 2012

Wind factor a challenge - Jayawardene

Windy Wellington has competition, from howling Hambantota. The ground here is surrounded by miles of forest and when the wind blows, it really does, from roughly west to east and right across the square. It nearly blows you off your feet; the low stands and grass banks are no barriers at all. The wind is supreme through the day but stops at night, creating different challenges for the batting and fielding sides during the first innings.

Batsmen have to be careful the strong breeze doesn't throw them off their stance, as Virender Sehwag said today. That is not their biggest worry, though. "You have to be careful when playing your shots against the wind or with the wind," Sehwag said. "But we have played in Dambulla and in Wellington, now we are used to the wind."

Batsmen, however, have to worry only about themselves; the fielding captain has others to think about. The ball travels quicker through one side of the field; on the other side, top edges might seem to be carrying to deep fielders, before dropping short. Mahela Jayawardene had experienced the problem when India batted first on Saturday.

"When we were fielding, the challenge for us was the wind," Jayawardene said. "It was quite windy [so it was difficult] for the bowlers as well as some of the guys [who] were off balance. Then, you have to protect one side of the ground better than the other side. This venue is throwing up a lot of different challenges. You need to adapt to it."

The wind stops at night, and that presents different issues to the side defending a total. "One thing we observed [was] the ball was travelling quicker than the day at night," Virat Kohli said after the first game. "[It] surely made a difference. The ball was running off the bat and it is important to assess what we did in the field.

"I think we made a few mistakes, understandably, because we haven't played on this ground before and to get the pace of the ground you probably need a game. Hopefully we can correct those mistakes and put in a good fielding effort in the next game."

Both sides dropped catches and fumbled in the field during the first game. Who will harness the wind better tomorrow?

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments