Thatscricket - News - Bowlers bail SL out yet again
Published: Monday, July 23, 2001, 4:48 [IST]
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Bangalore: Sri Lanka squeezed a thrilling six-run victory over India in its second match of the Coca Cola Cup at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, to top the table at the end of the first round of league matches. Sri Lanka bowled well in the beginning ten and the last ten overs to wriggle itself out of a tight situation. Murali in particular striking two vital blows when it mattered most.Needing a achieveable 222 runs for a victory, on a track that did offer conducive conditions for batting, the Indian run-chase was rocked by a very potent Sri Lankan pace attack, which reduced India to 71 for four in the 18th over. And although skipper Ganguly played like how we have know him to play which is a rarity these days, his knock of 69 was just not enough. India had lost too many wicket early in its innings and once Ganguly departed Sri Lanka came right back into the match. Sodhi did look to hold hope for India but succumbed to the spin wizard. After that it was always going to be very hard for India unless Dravid could strike a few big blows, which was not to be.Actually, India committed too many tactical errors; the biggest of them was not going in with a fourth bowler in the form of a spinner. Ganguly, it looks like, has not taken cue from the first match. India paid a price for not going in with a fourth bowler in the first match and decided it doesnt mind paying the price again.Whenever Harbhajan put pressure on the Sri Lankans there was nobody to sustain that pressure by bowling a tight length at the other end. Sri Lanka had two collapses of significant proportions but on both occasions managed to wriggle itself out of it.What can one say? After all, the extra batsman is hardly giving you 15 odd runs and with the 15 odd extra runs he gives while he is bowling it is just not worth it. It is much better chasing 190-195 with six batsmen, than 220-225 with seven batsmen.That apart, why would Ganguly want two inexperienced blokes opening the run-chase. Moreover, both are trying to cement a place in the side, which adds to the pressure. Anyhow, Ganguly knows best and one hopes things will look up for him.For the Sri Lankans part, they are lucky that twice they managed to get themselves out of jail. In both their One-dayers, the batsmen have under performed. It is the bowlers who have bailed them out in fact both with the ball and bat.In the final analysis, it was man-of-the-match Suresh Pereras 31-ball 28 cameo that saved the day- as it had done for it against New Zealand and also Muralis two wickets at the death that saved the blushes for the home side.