Confident India set to seal series
There is curiousity over third spot in batting order for Thursday's ODI vs SL.Updated: Nov 03, 2005 01:46 IST
Riding the crest of an amazing sequence of triumphs, India will look to seal the seven-match one-day cricket series in their favour with another dominating display against a self-doubting Sri Lanka in the fourth tieon Thursday.
Having taken a commanding 3-0 lead in the series, India are running high on confidence and it would require a superhuman effort from the Lankans to stop the winning run of their rivals at the traditionally batsman-friendly Nehru Stadium track and keep the series alive.
Lanka have failed to click as a team, in total contrast to India, who suddenly seem to have found the winning touch which had been missing over the last season as well as on the previous tours of Lanka and Zimbabwe.
The biggest let-down for Lanka in the series so far has been the Big Four -- former captain Sanath Jayasuriya, currrent skipper Marvan Atapattu, left-arm pace spearhead Chaminda Vaas and spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan.
None of them have performed to their potential, to a large extent due to the constant pressure applied on them by the hosts. The Lankans are hence due for a match-winning display from at least one of this quartet in what is a do-or-die encounter for them.
Jayasuriya has been struggling with his freak shoulder injury and it remains to be seen how the Matara marauder performs with the bat on Thursday.
Atapattu has once again looked clueless on Indian soil after his lack of success in this country on previous visits while Vaas and Murali have looked largely ineffective against the determined Indian batsmen.
Adding to the Lankan's batting woos would be the non-availibility of the vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene. The right-handed stylist, who seemed to have run into some form when making 71 in the previous encounter in Jaipur, has returned home to get married and is expected back in India in time only for the fifth match of the series at Ahmedabad on November 6.
Allrounders Russel Arnold and Tillekaratne Dilshan have been miserable failures so far with both bat and ball.
The only saving grace for the visitors has been the form displayed by their wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara who has scores of 43, 27 and 138 not out to his credit.
But he has not received sufficient support at the other end, barring the last tie when Jayawardene and the big-hitting Farveez Maharoof helped him set India 299 to chase.
Unlike the Indians, who have sent in Irfan Pathan, JP Yadav and Mahendra Singh Dhoni to the one-down slot in the series so far and have succeeded well beyond anyone's imagination, the Lankan think tank has preferred to use the clean-hitting Maharoof only in the lower order.
With Vaas and Murali not as effective as is their wont, it has been left to the likes of Maharoof, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Zoysa and Upul Chandana to rise to the occasion, but they have been mere cannon fodders to the rampaging Indian batsmen.
First Published: Nov 02, 2005 14:17 IST