It seems like Ishant leart nothing during his stint with the legendary Wasim Akram
Sri Lankan batsmen hammered the Indian attack on day 1 at Galle when they finished on 256/2 in just 68 overs. The bowling performance by the Indians was lackluster and without any imagination for most part of the day. Abhinav Mithun though did not do himself any harm as he turned out to be the best bowler on view on a day when the bat dominated the proceedings.
When Sreesanth and Zaheer pulled out due to injuries everyone knew that the Indian bowling would struggle but one thought that with added responsibility Ishant might get his form back. But it seems like Ishant hasn’t learnt anything during his sabbatical from the Indian team. His stint at Kolkata Knight Rider’s camp under the tutelage of the legendry Wasim Akram seems to have had no impact on the lanky pacer. Ishant Sharma is a classic case of modern Indian bowlers who start their careers with a bang and lose their steam with one full year of International cricket. As my numerous articles on this topic suggests the list is endless. Zaheer was the only one who managed to escape the trend with an inspired comeback couple of years back.
With the day 2 washed out it seems like this test might meander to a boring draw unless the Indian batting fails dramatically. It’s unfortunate that the last test of the great Murali has to end this way. If the rain continues he might not have the opportunity to go past 800 test wickets which begs the question whether he should have retired after this series rather than just the first test.
All in all it was a disappointing performance by the Indians as the bowlers looked pretty flat on the opening day. Sri Lankan batsmen were untroubled for most part of the day and Indian bowlers, pace and spin alike did not have any impact on the batsmen. If the play resumes on the 3rd day, it seems like the batsmen would continue to dominate and the Indians are facing a huge first innings total. I am thinking that the Indian batsmen would be praying for more rain in the coming three days of the test.
England finished on 229 for the loss of 5 wickets on day 1 of the first test match in Chennai. The fact that this series is going on after the Mumbai attacks is really wonderful as this would help to shift the focus of the people in India. England had a great start to the day when Pieterson called right at the toss and decided to bat first. Everyone knows that the key to success in India is to bat first and bat big. England did the first part right but let the advantage slip by scoring too slow and losing too many wickets.
The tourists at one stage were 164/1 and were looking good for a big first innings total but to finish on 229/5 was a poor effort. The fact that Paul Collingwood got a rough decision to be incorrectly given out by Billy Bowden did not help their cause either. While rest of the English top order looked scratchy, it looked as though Andrew Strauss was batting on a different pitch. Batting beautifully throughout the day he scored 123 before getting out caught and bowled to Amit Mishra.
Eventhough England batted poorly, nothing can be taken away from the Indian bowling on a flat batting track. As Harbajan rightly pointed out after the days play England could have easily scored 300 at the end of the day. Zaheer’s brilliant spell with the old ball and Harbajan’s twin strikes made sure that India finished up with a slight advantage on day one.
England still have Flintoff and Matt Prior in their ranks and they would be hoping for a total of 350-400. Day2 is going to be vital for England’s chances in this series. India would be hoping to get an early wicket to put pressure on the lower order. Its going to be an interesting day of test cricket.
Srilanka finished on 85/2 on a rain curtailed first day at SSC. The Indian new ball pair of Zaheer and Ishant took one wicket each for their efforts. The pitch was dead and is supposed to help the spinners on the last couple of days and Srilanka would just want to bat once on this track. The Indians will be really happy that one of the two wickets was of Sangakkara considering the form he is in. The days play was too short to determine which team has the upper hand but I would say that the visitors would feel satisfied with their display.
The Indian new ball bowlers bowled impressively on a slow pitch and were rewarded with two wickets. The second days play is very important for both the teams and if India manage to remove Mahela early then Srilanka’s inexperianced middle order will have their task cut out. Removing the Srilankan captain will be really crucial for the visitors as he averages around 80 on this ground.
Hopefully the second days play will take place without any further interruptions. India would like keep chipping away at the wickets and Srilanka would want to put up a huge total. All in all an interesting day ahead.