Sri Lanka not overawed by Tendulkar exploits

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

25 June 1998

World champions Sri Lanka are not going to be overawed by the batting exploits of Indian run-machine Sachin Tendulkar when they commence the second leg of matches in the Singer-Akai Nidahas trophy triangular match at the Galle International Stadium today.

``The morale of the team is quite high after the first round. The players seem to enjoy the one-day version of the game more than Test cricket,'' said Sri Lanka manager Ranjit Fernando.

He was of the view that after their shoddy display against India in the opening match which they lost by eight wickets, most of the main batsmen are getting into form.

Aravinda de Silva restored to the vice-captaincy has regained his confidence and is in the runs once more, so has Sanath Jayasuriya, who took a timely half-century off the New Zealand bowling. The most consistent of the Sri Lankan batsmen has been Marvan Atapattu, who has scored a fifty in each of the two matches played.

Sri Lanka made a few mistakes in the first leg game against India which they hope to rectify today. Sri Lanka's strength is still their batting which runs down to number seven, and it is imperative they decide to chase totals rather than set ones for the opposition.

The latter policy is not feasible because of the imbalance of the Sri Lankan bowling attack. In the absence of Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa due to injuries, and Sajeeva de Silva and Ravindra Pushpakumara through lack of form, Sri Lanka's young fast bowlers have fallen short of expectations.

One wonders whether picking Suresh Perera in the 14 was a good choice. He has yet to play one full season of cricket for SSC, and looked completely lost in the game against India. Perera should learn to bowl on one side of the wicket which is a basic requirement for any bowler. Now that he is in the squad, it would be imperative to get him working hard at the nets and then give him as much exposure in the later games if Sri Lanka can assure themselves of a place in the final before the completion of the qualifying round games.

Sri Lanka are likely to gamble by opening the bowling with left-arm spinner Niroshan Bandaratilake who did not do badly on his debut against New Zealand conceding 41 runs in ten overs.

The Indian batting looks formidable on paper, but in contrast to the Sri Lankan line-up they have no comparison perhaps with the exception of Tendulkar and skipper Mohammad Azharuddin.

In the two games played so far, India have shown capabilities in all-departments with fast-medium bowler Ajit Agarkar being the most impressive. This youngster has been India's 'find' of the past one year and continues to impress with every game.

India played an unchanged side for the first two games, and there is no reason why they should not continue to do so. They have begun the tournament on a high note defeating the world champions convincingly and were unlucky not to repeat that performance against New Zealand on Tuesday, when rain forced the game to end in a no-result.

Some Statistics thus far in the tournament

HIGHEST INNINGS TOTAL: 246/2 (43.4) - India v Sri Lanka)

LOWEST INNINGS TOTAL: 200/9 (50) - New Zealand v Sri Lanka

HIGHEST INDIVIDUAL INNINGS: 97 - P.A. de Silva, Sri Lanka v India

FASTEST FIFTY: 33 balls - S.R. Tendulkar, India v New Zealand

BEST INNINGS BOWLING: 3/24 - U.U. Chandana, Sri Lanka v New Zealand

MOST ECONOMICAL BOWLING: 10-1-24-1 - M. Muralitharan, Sri Lanka v New Zealand

Source: The Daily News

Contributed by CricInfo Management

Date-stamped : 25 Jun1998 - 06:16