Another run feast on the cards

Yuvraj likely to sit out due to viral fever; Sehwag declared fit to play

Another run feast on the cards


“It looks like a flat, good wicket,” said MS Dhoni when asked about the pitch and if his prediction is to come true then the bowlers have another nightmare in store when India and Sri Lanka square-off here on Friday in a day-nighter.
History, albeit a short one, suggests pitch here at the newly-built stadium has had runs scored in a glut: Riding on Dhoni’s blistering ton India had stacked up a winning total of 354 against Australia this October and in the first T20 match last week, Lanka amassed runs in excess of 200 which resulted in the lone success for Kumar Sangakkara’s men on their Indian soujourn so far.

The islanders came agonisingly close to achieving their second win of the tour in Rajkot but eventually fell short by three runs chasing a mammoth 414.
Led by an adventurous, audacious Tillakaratne Dilshan and the effervescent Sangakkara, Lankans almost pulled off a stunner before Dhoni’s men got control of things and scraped home by a very thin margin.
Needless to say, Lanka would have taken a lot of positives from their previous encounter that should keep India on their toes despite their superiority over their rivals.

As far as batting is concerned, the Indian line-up has arguably the most explosive batsmen in the world, but it’s the bowling and the fielding which have been of great worry for them.
Having said that, it’s also true that there was not much the bowlers could have done on a wicket like Rajkot, but there was simply no excuse for the below par show on the field. The current tally of dropped catches by the Indian fielders in the last three limited-over matches stands at 12, an average of four catches per match, a damning indicator of their poor fielding standards.

Sehwag fit
The batting has mostly made up for the chinks in other departments. Virender Sehwag, who hurt his left leg while fielding in Rajkot, has been declared fit and took active part in India’s practice.
The right-hander smashed the visiting attack to smithereens en route to his highest one-day score which also formed the base for India’s biggest total in ODIs. The sight of him walking down with an in-form Sachin Tendulkar is sure to leave the Lankan attack a nervous lot.

Yuvraj Singh is most likely to sit out again as the left-hander is suffering from viral fever, which according to Dhoni is just a flu as of now!
The Punjab batsman, who is also having a finger injury, skipped practice on Thursday, but even minus Yuvraj, Indian batting has enough firepower to come on top against Lankan bowling, further rendered weaker by the ruling out of Dilhara Fernando and Muttiah Muralitharan.

Lankans haven’t quite covered themselves in glory when it comes to bowling and lapses in fielding, complimenting India in equal measure. Their fortunes again have revolved around batsmen, whose exploits haven’t exactly transformed into successes but have kept them in hunt.
Their strategy to promote Upul Taranga at the top with Dilshan turned out to be a master stroke in Rajkot, but Sanath Jayasuriya, playing in the middle-order after years, flattered to deceive.

Mahela Jayawardene has so far failed to transform his Test form into significant scores in the shorter format and Lankans will be hoping for a big one from the right-hander.
Sangakara, however, has been in pristine touch since the century in the Mumbai Test and the elegant left-hander would be desperately seeking to reverse the trend on Friday.

But India would be equally keen to finish the game on a winning note as the match marks Sachin Tendulkar’s 20th year in one-day cricket.
DH News Service
Umpires:  Sanjay Hazare and Marais Erasmus (South Africa); Third umpire: Shavir Tarapore.
Timing: Match starts at 2.30 pm.

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