The backfiring Powerplay
Many negative themes have plagued Sri Lanka's innings this series, but two of the more telling have been their poor use of the batting Powerplay, and Akshar Patel's ability to make crucial breakthroughs. Both these features were brought together in emphatic fashion in Hyderabad, as Akshar came on as soon as the Powerplay was called, to remove Angelo Mathews, then Ashan Priyanjan, and Chaturanga de Silva in each of his following Powerplay overs. All three batsmen had been attempting aggressive strokes.
The grouchy centurion
Mahela Jayawardene's often makes his cricket seem joyful, but not when he reached his 17th ODI ton with a six over midwicket on Thursday. Jayawardene had helped set Sri Lanka on the path to a competitive score before four middle order batsmen got out within seven overs, and plunged the innings into disarray. Having turned down singles into the outfield as early as the 38th over, Jayawardene's expression conveyed frustration and disappointment, even as he acknowledged the applause for his hundred.
But even Jayawardene's dissatisfaction was no match for the look of absolute contempt Ambati Rayudu shot at Shikhar Dhawan, after the latter had effectively sealed his run-out. Batting on 35, and having seemed completely at ease with the bowling, Rayudu pushed Tillakaratne Dilshan just wide of mid off, and called Shikhar Dhawan through for a quick single. Dhawan though, not only didn't respond to Rayudu's call, he also appeared late to send his partner back. Rayudu's mistake was watching the ball, and paying no attention to his partner, and in the end, both batsmen ended up at the non-striker's end, and Sri Lanka completed the simplest of run outs.
The d j vu
Kumar Sangakkara had been out to a thigh-high full toss in the second ODI, but it took two terrific, almost identical balls to dismiss him in the other two matches. On this occasion, Umesh Yadav dug one in short of a length on about middle stump, and managed to hit the seam, moving the ball away. Facing his first ball, Sangakkara pushed at it and did well to even connect, sending the ball to first slip off the edge. Ishant Sharma had been the bowler to get him out in similar fashion in the first game.