The two T20 games between India and Sri Lanka produced totals of over 200, but now with the scene shifting to the fifty-over games, on what will be equally flat decks, 300 may not even be a par score. Certainly, not at Rajkot.
In such batsmen-friendly conditions, the bowlers will have to come up with something different. The old approach of trying to restrict the scoring will not do and the captains will have to come up with a different strategy. Like say, nominating two of the five bowlers to go for wickets and not worrying about the runs conceded.
The message should be sent out to the opposition too and who knows, that may just make them change their batting strategy. They may decide to play a particular bowler out and, in the process, lose the plot.
The key is to identify two bowlers to do that and with Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan rejoining the squad after a short break, they should fit the bill. Attacking at the top is the best way to go about it, which is where Zaheer can play a crucial role.
It is unfortunate that Sreesanth will be missing out for a while. The young man was just getting back into the groove and to be struck down by illness is sheer bad luck. The Indians will be hoping not to lose Yuvraj Singh too. It is not just his explosive batting, his useful left-arm spin too plays a big part in India’s ODI successes.
The game is not just about batting and bowling. India’s fielding has never been outstanding but that the catching too is suffering is a cause for concern. Especially, on flat tracks where even half chances need to be grabbed. I guess the new fielding coach Mike Young has his task cut out.
The Lankans, who too put down a few catches in the second T20, will at least be gladdened by the return of Muttiah Muralitharan.
They will be looking at doing things differently with the ball and it always helps to have someone like Murali around.
The biggest turnaround though has been Kumar Sangakkara’s form. The 100 at the CCI has done him immense good and with Sanath Jayasuriya showing glimpses of what he can do, the Lankan batting looks in fine fettle.
For some reason, Mahela Jaywardene batted at number five in Mohali, but I would like to see the foursome of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Jayasuriya, Sangakkara and Jayawardene in the top four and getting to play the maximum overs. That, though, is something for the bowlers from either side to try and change.