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India set for final toss-up

As things stand, the first series of the new year could go either way. Going by the performance of India and Sri Lanka, there’s little to choose between the two, reports Nilankur Das.

cricket Updated: Jan 13, 2010 00:38 IST
Nilankur Das

As things stand, the first series of the new year could go either way. Going by the performance of India and Sri Lanka, there’s little to choose between the two.

The dew factor, however, could give one team an unfair edge over the other. It makes bowling tough in the second session, making the toss quite crucial.

A day before India and Sri Lanka meet in the final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, the teams must be busy thinking about how to cope with the problem in case they had to bowl second.

Sri Lanka seemed to have worked out a ploy and were working on it at the nets on Tuesday morning. The idea seemed simple: bang it in short to push the batsmen on to the back-foot and follow it up with a yorker.

Suranga Lakmal, Chanaka Welegedara and Thilan Thushara all tried out the ploy, and it looked good.

But the key would be how well they execute it on Wednesday as even a slight error in length would provide the batsmen with an easy scoring opportunity.

India, having played a match on Monday, had an optional training session in the afternoon, which was attended only by six players.

Virender Sehwag, who had a two-match rest, was back, accompanied by Yuvraj Singh, the inform Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Ashok Dinda.

India bowlers have never been good in bowling yorkers, and they were not impressive in the match in which they had to bowl second.

The same holds true for Sri Lanka, but their bowling in the death is, however, a lot better than India’s.

In the last two matches, India bowlers have run through top orders, utilising the initial help in the afternoon. They, however, failed to sustain the tempo in the death overs and were hammered by the likes of Suraj Randiv of Sri Lanka and Mohammad Mahmudullah of Bangladesh.

Having played each other so often will give Sri Lanka a slight advantage. The India team is more or less the same, but Sri Lanka have quite a few new faces in the XI and most of them have done well in the series.

Thissara Perera has bowled well and have even won Sri Lanka a match with the bat against India, just like he did in Nagpur last month.

Suraj Randiv has shouldered the responsibility of spearheading the spin attack quite nicely in the absence of Muttiah Muralitharan.

Suranga Lakmal, on the other hand, has extracted good bounce and has bowled with a lot of pace.

Besides, Welegedara, who also made his debut against India last month and took his first fifer against India here, have further strengthened the Lankan pace attack.

For India, too, youngsters like Kohli and Sudip Tyagi have done well. Kohli, in particular, is having a brilliant run and is currently the highest scorer of the tournament.

But all eyes will be on Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sehwag. The two have toyed with the bowlers and have got runs at will.

With the cold wave and the early morning fog returning after a two-day gap, chances are that the final could be worst hit by dew if the sun does not come out early in the morning.