Yesterday, Cuttack witnessed a dominating performance by India as India went two-one up in the Royal Stag ODI series against the Lankans. [scorecard]. India can take a lot of positives from the match while Sri Lanka need to head back to their drawing boards and rethink their batting.
Sehwag, leading the team in Dhoni's ban led from the front with a quick fire 44. Tendulkar (96*) saw the team through along with Karthik. Earlier Sri Lanka raced ahead in the powerplays due to a Dilshan onslaught but then wickets fell regularly and Sri Lanka were folded for 239 with Jadeja picking up four wickets.
India's fielding has been in the limelight so far and Mike Young, has been taking a lot of criticism, but in the last few matches, I have observed that the Indian fielders are now having a go at the stump regularly, trying to effect an run out. South Africa and Australia always have a good throw at the stumps, sometimes even when the batsman is inside, so that they can keep him on his feet, and not rest. India has been doing that and yesterday it was seen clearly. The plain logic of the matter is that the more you throw at the stumps, the more chances of you hitting the stumps and thereby effecting a run-out. It is the catching that has been a sorrowful tale, but given time and some harsh work outs in the field, it will surely improve. I am really appreciative of the BCCI in appointing Mike Young.
Ishant Sharma has lost his pace, his action, his line and length, and his confidence and yet he finds a place in the team! This is one thing I cannot understand. Ishant came in as a bright talent but he has faded away and the magic is all gone. Bowling short and wide at just a little above 120 kilometers is asking to be hit, and with players like Dilshan and Sangakara, the ball is made to enter space every now and then. I feel Ishant should be dropped and not picked till he finds form. After all he is only 21, and has a long way to go.
Dinesh Karthik is quite a live wire, and with him on the field the fielders look more attentive, I feel. He is a great fielder, and yesterday kept wickets well. His batting is also good and I don't understand why he struggles to find a place in the playing 11. Watching him after he hit the winning runs, one would think he'd just got out. That's how disappointed he was at denying Sachin a century. Such commitment and unselfishness must surely be rewarded. Playing only in Dhoni's absence is not a great career. I just hope that Karthik won't be criminal waste of talent due to the team selection. He is talented to be in the Indian team and he is strides ahead of Kohli, as Karthik has played test matches for India and has opened in places like South Africa, Australia, and England with success.
Sachin Tendulkar scored his 18th nineties, and his first not out score in the nineties. Who said he had every record in the book?
Here's hoping that India win the series, giving it's billions of loyal fans a very merry Christmas.