The Sri Lankans were outstanding in Hambantota and showed a lot of character in getting back into the series. They had a perfect day to level the series. The surface for both the days was outstanding. Normally in Sri Lanka you expect low, slow turners, as it used to be the case till the great Murali was an important member of the side.
The surface looked hard and had decent bounce and carry by Sri Lankan standards. Hambantota is almost at the end of the island due to which there is lot of open space resulting in very windy conditions. That allowed the ball to swing in both the games, a bit more in the night than in the day.
The Indian batting failed as a unit and this is very common in sport. You get stuck into days where nothing happens and before you realise it's all over. There were a lot of soft dismissals.
I heard Dhoni say in the press conference that Kohli's wicket was the turning point but I hope that is not the mindset of the Indians.
Kohli has been a fantastic player in the recent past but there are many good players in that squad who are capable enough to take a game away. What is required is a bit more application.
Spot of bother Also, what would be worrying for Dhoni is if your number four in a young batting line-up keeps getting knocked over then obviously the pressure mounts when you lose a couple of wickets with the new ball.
Dhoni will have to look at Tiwary soon because one can't understand why a player who has got a hundred in his last game for the country is kept out, especially when one of your main batters, however gifted and talented he may be, has failed to live up to expectations.
Different ball game
India will encounter a different surface at the Premadasa Stadium where the toss will have a bit more impact. The surfaces in Sri Lanka, especially in the ODI's, have changed a lot since Murali retired.
I have never seen Sri Lanka pick four seamers in the squad but they have realised that the spin department is relatively weak.
The bowling for India will worry Dhoni a lot more. The extras in terms of wides will come down as Premadasa is a stadium and hence won't be that windy.
Both Zaheer and Umesh Yadav have proved to be expensive. Zak will probably have to play the role of a tighter bowler even if he doesn't pick wickets as history shows when Zak bowls tight in Tests or the One-day Internationals he creates pressure from one end which allows the bowler from the other end to confront a risk taking batsman.
Sri Lanka will have come out of this game with lot more confidence, but there will not be any psychological advantage for the teams and they will start on an even note.
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