Sri Lanka face must-win situation against India (Preview)

February 2nd, 2009 - 4:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 2 (IANS) Having lost the first two One-dayers, Sri Lanka are in a must-win situation in the day-night third ODI cricket match against India at the Premadasa Stadium here Tuesday.The islanders certainly have the armoury to bounce back in the five-match series.

Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene has the mixture of experience and youth at his disposal. He has the luxury of a very strong top and middle order battling line up, from the dashing opener Sanath Jayasuriya to medium pacer Farveez Maharoof. And, he has two world class spinners in Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis operating in home conditions.

Jayawerdene tried all his options desperately during the first two matches, but could not stop the Indians from outplaying them in their backyard.

More than his own poor form with the bat and others in the team, Jayawerdene’s immediate concern is the way Indians have tackled his best weapon Muralithran and Mendis in the series. Bravely taking a gamble, the Indians have made best use of the 20 overs shared between them to score nearly five runs per over without losing wickets.

The duo took only three wickets conceding a mammoth 175 runs in 40 overs in the first two matches. Ace spinner Muralitharan is struggling to capture the three wickets he needs to become the greatest ODI bowler in the game’s history.

Jayawerdene attributed Saturday’s loss to players’ inability to make good use of the power play during which they lost too many wickets although Thilina Kandamby was holding on one end.

True that Sri Lankans have played too much cricket and barely had rest during the past five months, but it is a case of putting the efforts together and implementing the game plan effectively to rediscover their winning form.

As for Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni, everything has gone his way right from the toss, which he believes plays a crucial role when playing in Sri Lanka under lights.

Dhoni, however, would want the fielding of his team to improve. He has already warned the players against complacency. Sure, he would also want the players to improve in running between the wickets and bowling to a plan to ensure a comfortable win rather than a nail-biting finish.

The pressure will be on Sri Lanka to stay alive in the series, something they managed in Pakistan last month and went to win the series after losing the first ODI.

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