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Gambhir ruled out, Harbhajan doubtful

The Indian Opener, Gautam Gambhir has been ruled out of the third and final test game against Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval in Colombo. With this major blow for India, the Indian bowling spearhead Harbhajan Singh too is doubtful for the Third test game as he was not fully fit for the practice session. Read the rest of this entry

Another Lanka-India series?

Oh! If you hear this, if will be the most frustrating news for everyone. How many times will India and Sri Lanka will face each other?

India and The Lankans have played nine tests, 39 ODIs and three T20s in the past five years.

India toured Sri Lanka in 2008 for three Tests and five ODIs, they faced them in the Asia Cup and then went to the island nation to play an ODI series in January-February in the start of 2009.

This was followed by a tri-series, the Compaq Cup, also featuring New Zealand, in September.Sri Lanka visited India late last year and played Tests, ODIs and couple of Twenty20s.Then again they had a tri series in Bangladesh in the start of this year.

And most of it, now the Sri Lankan Board now has planned a test series and a tri nation ODI series this July- August.

India loose the Thriller

It once looked that India are the favorites, me too told that but now it is wrong. Sri Lanka dominated the match. India struggled, were under pressure, injury concern.etc.

All started off when Sangakkara won the toss and choose to bowl. As usual he selected this because of the due factor. But in the third ball of the Indian inning, Gambhir fell for a duck clean bowled by Kulasekara.

They like a row of cycle, wickets started tumbling, Kohli and Yuvraj went to the hut soon, especially Yuvraj went back to a hut with a golden duck.

Mr. Cool Skipper, Dhoni too couldn’t manage to score runs as too fell for 14 in the superb opening spell of Kulasekara.

Now, a sure partnership was needed to keep the hopes alive. Yes, Raina and Jadeja put on a needed partnership of 106 runs. But after the Drinks break in the 34th over, Dilshan struck on the pars of Jadeja.

Even with the departure of Jadeja, Raina went on to score a hundred. But, unfortunately when they to the Powerplay, wickets tumbled and India managed on 245.

The Lankan innings was expected with a high opening partnership but in 1st over Nehra struck Tharanga.

After this, they started scoring fours and also took singles. Wickets fell in their batting. But they went on to score 246 and take the cup back home.

This time, even though the Indian bowling was good, they couldn’t restrict them.

Preview: Finale of the neighbors

As it was predicted and expected, both Indians and Lankans thrashed The hosts Bangladeshis beating them 4 nil. Now to eye balls are turned towards the Final of the Triangular series to be held tomorrow in Mirpur.

This finale will mark the 121st match between India and Sri Lanka which will be the highest between two teams. The previous best was between Australia and West Indies playing 121 matches.

The Lankans surely will be aiming to defeat India as a revenge for their loss in the ODI series in December.So the final tomorrow will be a thriller with both team on heavy competition to pose the cameras with the cup.

INDIA

With starting the year in a losing note, Dhoni and co got back to winning ways with the rest of the league matches. They will surely look to win the math to win the series and close in to the ranking of the No.1 ODI team Australia.

With Virender Sehwag back in the team, it would add a huge boast to the opening. And with Gambhir back in splendid form it adds to the strength of the batting.

With Virat Kohli scoring 273 runs in four matches, is in great form batting at No.3. While the rest Dhoni, Yuvraj, Jadeja and Raina are too in good touch, it would be with the opening partnership of Sehwag and Gambhir.

Fielding and Bowling surely has improved since the teams last met in India. Bowling in last 2 matches was superb. But the worry for Dhoni is depth bowling.

India conceded over 90 runs in last 10 overs in the last matches. But with the return of Bhajji and Zak it surely will be controlled.

India surely are the favorites for this match.

SRI LANKA

The Lankans were let down with the loss to India in the last match. But surely now, they might be aiming to win the cup.

With Dilshan and Tharanga in sublime form it looks that they will provide a good start. The middle order with Mahela’s inclusion means power. They have the capability to do anything.

Sangakkara, Mahela, Samaraweera Kandamby, Perera and in superb form hitting cameos in all the matches they have played.

Bowling in the start and in the death overs had been a concern for both teams when they met each other in Indian pitch. The Indian bowlers had been inconsistent in first 2 games as they were unable to restrict The Islanders and the Hosts.

Newbie Sudeep Tyagi has performed excellently in both games he has played. With Zaheer’s return to the team, it looks like Tyagi will be out. But they may put out Sreesanth as he has been too expensive.

On the Lankan side it is even more worse, apart from Welegedara’s  5 Wicket haul in the 1st match no bowler has been consistent. Even with the likes of experienced bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara and Thilan Thushara in the team, they have been too expensive and not picked up many wickets.

So the pressure is on Thisara Perera and Suraj Randiv who were the pick of the bowlers to perform well.

TOSS IS THE BOSS

Toss obviously in this series has been one go, Whoever it is win the toss and choose to field first.

PROBABLE SQUADS

India:  Virender Sehwag,  Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Sreesanth/Sudeep Tyagi.

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (capt./wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Thissara Perera, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara/ Suranga Lakmal , Chanaka Welegedara.

Indian bowlers thrashed Lanka to a loss

It never looked that the depth batting line up of Lanka would get thrashed for 213 by the Indian bowlers. But it happened. The bowlers scripted India the mammoth victory to get through to the Final. With Sehwag, Nehra and Bhajji rested it looked that India lacked spin bowling and explosive opening. But, all the experiments they tried worked out well.

Dinesh Karthik gave the start India needed as fast and explosive as Sehwag and Mishra spun the ball taking 3 wickets.

Zaheer to was in fine form picking up 3 wickets. Even the Indian fielding was fantastic. The Lankan skipper did a blunder by choosing to bat first.

Gambhir and Kohli powered the Indian batting as they scored 71 each to take India to an emphatic win.

Middle order help India to put on 279

Winning the toss The Lankans choose to field as usual with a low batting team. The Indians started off good but Welegedara bowled Gambhir out for 8 runs to make him take the huge walk early. Kohli too didn’t look in fine touch as he too was caught behind with a beautiful going away delivery by Welegedara.

Meanwhile Sehwag thrashed 9 fours to end up his innings in a cheeky fashion when Chanaka Welegedara swinged one away from him. Trouble time started when it was 71-3 as middle order was exposed and had no backup. But Dhoni and Yuvraj put on a 99 run partnership chipping singles here and there and scoring some boundaries.

Dhoni ended the partnership when he knocked one to the Keeper with the away ball of Thisira Perera. Yuvraj kept on going for six more overs but soon fell to Perera for 74 runs.

After his dismissal it looked that even 250 was impossible but the likes of Raina and Jadeja made it easy as both put on cameos of 35 and 39 each. Wickets tumbled after Raina’s wicket when they took the Batting powerplay.

Harbhajan got out in a laughing fashion, but Jadeja tried to keep the pace and at last India ended up for 279.

The target for Lankans is 280. It might be tough because there is no Dilshan and Jayawardane.


2009, a golden year for India.

If it was India beating the Kiwis down under, If it was the IPL in South Africa or If it was Sachin Tendulkar completing his 20 years in crickets, The most of them was India achieved their feat of becoming the No.1 Test Team in 2009.

After the sagas of winning the 2007 T20 World cup,

All hoped that they will do it in 2009. But they could not defend their title in England but gave it away to their arch rivals Pakis.

It looked like India is the No.1 team in One Day but that also easily ended in 24 hours losing the home series to The Kangaroos.

But with the negligence of Test Cricket by BCCI too, India playing only six test matches in a year could achieve this feat of becoming the No.1 team in Test Cricket. It was a 18 month wish that was fulfilled by Dhoni and Co against The Islanders in The CCI or commonly called Braboune stadium.

If 2-0 win against the Lankans put the Men in Blue on top of the World, they should rewind the 1-0 win against The Black caps that came down under after 4 decades.

But in the one dayers, Dhoni and co bearded The Lankan Lions in their den,

thumped the Kiwis in their own Land and

Hit the West Indians in the Caribbean islands  to win their fifth series in a row.

We cannot forget the Compaq cup in Sri Lanka where they won the Knock out

but they cut out a sorry figure in the Champions trophy coming back home with only one win.

The home series against The Kangaroos gave them a chance to become The No.1 ODI team but they surrendered to Ponting and Co who returned with bragging right.

Most of all these losses is the huge loss in England T20 World Cup to defend their title. They screwed the minnows Bangladesh and Ireland easily but lost the other three big games in a row to come back home with what? Nothing, but losing the title to The Pakis.

The million dollar tournament IPL was a huge hit this year as it was moved to South Africa after general election problem in the country.

All this was squeezed in 365 days so there was really no time for rest for the Men in Blue. But the poor factor is that India go to Play only 6 test matches in this time.

In fact, the BCCI has scheduled only 2 test matches for the next 11 months.

HIGH POINT

Becoming the NO.1 team in tests needed a lot of hard work. It was not only the one year but a hard work of a decade. There were many obstacles for The Team but finally got to No.1 in Braboune stadium against Lanka with Sehwag’ superb innings.

LOW POINT

WIth Dhoni becoming Indian captain it looked it they are going to win all the matches. But they didn’t even care to defend their T20 title and came out of Champions Trophy without a fight.

WHAT 2010 HAS

With India becoming NO.1 team it is very difficult for them to defend that title. The Men in Blue has to beat The Kangaroos, The Proteas and The Lankans not in Home conditions but away.That journey will start when India tour South Africa in the end of 2010.

Another factor, BCCI too has to do a thing- they have to arrange more test matches six tests in a year is not enough.

The Men in Blue have to improve in bowling and fielding to win shortened versions. Even if their batsmen score 350+ or even 400 the bowling and fielding department has to improve  a lot. Even 414 seemed not enough against the Lankans.

India will have a go again to the T20 World coming awaiting for them in West Indies before they play in the 2011 WC

Another mantra will be rest players in some series and give chance for youngsters and others to Capitan. Virat Kohli scored a awesome innings.Even Sehwag’s captaincy was very good winning two matches in a row.

His words after winning-“I was actually supporting Sri Lanka. My superstition is that whenever I support India, we lose. So I was supporting Sri Lanka.” Sehwag’s prayers worked as India won by 3 runs against SL at Rajkot.

2010 is also awaits a packed schedule

From The Bangladesh ODI Tri Series

To Bangladesh Test Series

India- South Africa test series

THE IPL

THE T20 WORLD CUP

and many games to go.

Virat and Gambhir win it for India to thrash Lankans 3-1

It looked like 316 looked tough from the moment go because India’s middle order was weak. Both Sehwag and Tendulkar departed in the 2nd and 4th over. With 23 on the board and 2 wickets was a huge blow for India.

Both Sehwag and Sachin scored 2 fours and got out because of the extra bounce of Lakmal. With the duo’s departure, it seemed that the middle order was put under extreme pressure.

But Gambhir and Virat Kohli started nudging the ball for singles and took the odd four. They never took any risks what so ever. Virat Kohli welcomed Laith Malinga with four consecutive fours. Virat was in his best form. Gambhir too. Both were taking only singles.

I was surprised that Lankan skipper didn’t even bother to stop those singles. He neglected it and left them to take the singles.

Both were on 99. First Virat scored his maiden hundred then Gambhir his hundred. With both having centuries, a pacer was introduced where both of them tried to clear the ropes. Virat attemted to clear Long on with the spin of Randiv but  failed where Pushpakumara caught a blinder and made him walk out for 107. His brilliant innings came to an end.

But Gambhir never stopped, he continued to score runs. When the batting power-play was taken at the 45th over both Gambhir and Kathik started hit fours. Karthik scored a cameo of 19 while Gambhir went on to score is 150 in the last ball and leading India to a fanstastic win.

THE MAN OF THE MATCH AWARD WAS GIVEN TO GAMBHIR BUT VIRAT DESERVED IT

For a must win match Lanka pose India 316 as the target

With India winning 21, it was a must win match for The Islanders so they came in with many changes and high spirit. It was a different start as Dilshan and Tharanga kept quiet until the 6th over. In the 9th over, Dilshan pulled Nehra’s bouncer which was brilliantly caught by Virat Kohli.

As Dilshan departed for only 9, Ishant Sharma was introduced. The flow of boundaries started when Jayasuriya and Tharanga scored 20 runs of Ishant’s 1st over. Jayasuriya was in fine knock but it ended when Zaheer Khan struck him for 15 of 15 balls.

The Captain himself came in to bat today at No.4. Tharanga and Sanga were scoring runs in a brisk pace not allowing the bowlers to settle. It was a fine batting from both as Tharanga scored 100 and Sangakkara with a 50. But the 126 run parnership ended when The Lankan Skipper tried to attempt a cheeky shot but deceived but the spin of Harbhajan and stumped by Karthik for 60 runs.

The Experience Mahela came in as Kumar departed. Runs were coming very good in both ends. As they put on a 36 run partnership, The batting powerplay was chosen and Zaheer Khan was introduced. But in his first ball he struck the Tharanga’s timber and made him to depart for 118.

This time as Tharanga departed there was a surprise in wait for the Indians when Thisara Perera was sent in. No one thought he would play so well. But he blistered fours and six as he went on to score 31 of 14 and was caught out bowled by Nehra with a beautiflu catch in sqaure leg by Jadeja.

Jayawardane too was run out with a athletic performance by Nehra for a direct hit. Then with interruptions of light failure match started and Lanka managed to score 316 for the loss of 6 wickets.

The most shameful part for Indian cricket as the lights went of in the middle. This happened in IPL too. Its real shame which wasted 1520 minutes.

Rohit Sharma is Yuvraj’s replacement

After a superb innings against Gujrat, Rohit Sharma has found himself to get a place in the Indian side  again. Rohit Sharma the T20 master was dropped from the Indian side due to lack of performance.

But with Yuvraj’s injury he finds himself in. But it is not sure that he will play the match as there is Kohli instead of Yuvraj. So Rohit is just a back up. Maybe he may get a game. Who knows.???

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