ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 09

Sri Lanka destroy Bangladesh

By Ranil Abeynaike

When Bangladesh arrived in Sri Lanka some weeks ago they would have suspected to taste some success. They would have expected to be competitive at least in the one dayers. Sri Lanka cricket agreed to their request of playing three tests rather than two. It was a gesture to help promote their game. After three test matches and three ODI’s, they were annihilated and had to return with hardly anything to talk about.

They did not play with purpose and although they upset India and South Africa at the World Cup, here they looked a pack of novices. They were unable to play good cricket for a session. Only when Captain Mohamed Ashraful and the eighteen year old wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahim put on 191 runs for the sixth wicket in the second innings of the second test, they did look like a team capable of playing international cricket. That was their best ever partnership and indicated that they could come up with better performances.

It was mentioned in last week’s column that they lacked in technique, to play at the highest level. Getting into line, getting the feet into position, being balanced to play or leave the ball, must be practiced for hours on end. Life is so much easier for the present day cricket with the invention of bowling machines. They can be used indoors and outdoors. Batsmen can spend hours honing their skills and techniques and that is what the Bangladeshis should be doing.

The three young medium quick bowlers were impressive. Mushrafique Mortaza, Syed Rasel and Sahadat Hossain have it in them to grow. Again, they must work towards mastering swing and the other variations in pace bowling. The spin department is shockingly weak. They were held together by Mohamed Rafique, the veteran left armer. He is now in the second half of thirty and is losing the venom he possessed. The young spinners who are turning their arm over have a long way to go. The off spinner who played in the third ODI Mahamullah Reza, was the bowler with some potential. He’s got a good action, an unflustered temperament, is tall and what he needs is hours of practice and bowl in as many matches.

In the last ODI Sri Lanka rested four players. Bangladesh had the advantage of the toss and put the opposition to bat. Mahela Jayawardena kept himself to bat down the order at number seven. Sri Lanka tottered to 61 for 4 wickets, but Bangladesh could not capitalize. From the beginning they left off as many as five opportunities to catch or gain run outs. Jayasuriya, Sangakkara, Kapugedara, Mubarak, Dilshan, all benefited. Perhaps they were too “punch drunk”, to raise their game to a winning level.

Even though the opposition did not play up to par, the Sri Lankans struck to their task. It began with the first test when three lesser fancied players notched-up centuries. Michael Van Dort first and later, Prasanna Jayawardena and Chaminda Vaas. They were quality performances, studded with correct strokes. All three would have added heaps to their batting confidence.

The seniors, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, enhanced their reputations as quality International players. Sanath Jayasuriya came for the one dayers, reached a bowling milestone and announced he was disappointed he did not make more runs.

Once the side goes to South Africa for the 20-twenty cup, the tough assignments begin. Thereafter, they will encounter England and Australia. The foundation is solid; to continue playing sensible cricket is the requirement.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.