Thursday, March 22, 2007

Not convinced by the Bermuda bash

The Sri Lankans will not give Sehwag the luxury to free his arms for his favourite off-side shots. They will also not stand transfixed by Kumble, leg before wicket, like deer caught in the headlamps of a car. It was that great Sri Lankan bat Aravinda De Silva, after all, who was the first to work out that Kumble should be played like an inswinger not a spinner, which the Aussies and everyone else then picked up. As for Yuvraj, the Lankans will take note of his own admission after the Bermuda match that he got a lot of balls in his hitting zone which he was able to despatch over the midwicket boundary.
The basic problems remain unresolved, the most important being the instability at the top which can only be fixed by sending Sachin or Dravid out to open with Sourav. A stronger attack, on a lively pitch, will expose Sehwag again. He can be better used to do a demolition job in the middle. And Uthappa seems like a moth drawn irresistibly to the rising ball outside off-stump. He needs more time in international cricket before he can come to terms on such wickets.
In the bowling too, Zaheer lacks support at the other end. Agarkar has made no impression with the new ball. And later, it took an embarrassingly long time to get the last two Bermudan wickets. The only recognised batsman in the Bermuda line-up, David Hemp from South Africa who plays county cricket in England, remained unbeaten on 76, his top score in international cricket.
Dravid will be tempted to go with Agarkar because he recently snapped up Chris Gayle a couple of times with the ball that comes in to the left-hander. But I feel Sreesanth is better equipped to get that vital early wicket of Jayasuriya. On these tracks, he will get bounce and movement with his high-arm, wrist-behind-the-seam action, like he did in South Africa. But he can be profligate and hasn't played a game yet at the World Cup. Will Dravid now have the guts to effect a make-or-break change for the Lankan match?


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