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Lanka?s priority: Stopping Sachin

Now everyone, including Marvan Atapattu, is repeatedly asking: "What's happening to us"?

india Updated: Oct 31, 2005 10:38 IST

They are the No. 2 team in the world. Time and again, they have proved tough opponents for India. And now everyone, including their skipper Marvan Atapattu, is repeatedly posing a question to everyone: "What's happening to us"?

Sri Lanka's fortunes have taken a plunge in the space of just three months -- from being a team which toyed with the Indians when they last toured the island nation, to a team poor enough to fold up in 35 overs in the last two matches in Nagpur and Mohali. These are testing times for the Lankans, and they are aware of this fact. They are looking around for answers on the eve of the third one-day international.

And the most pressing of them is how to stop Sachin Tendulkar from making runs. They need fresh inputs from someone who knows the maestro's batting well. "Can you do anything when the world's best batsman Sachin Tendulkar plays like this?," Lankan skipper Marvan Atapattu shot back when asked for reasons behind his team's defeats.

"Our plans have been undone by only one man (Sachin). And if he continues to play like this then I think it's difficult to stop India (from winning)," he added. Notwithstanding the results of the first two matches, one thing is for sure, the Lankans are not going to give up so easily. If 'Plan A' has failed to yield results then 'Plan B' would certainly be expected to come into force on Monday.

"The super-sub is something that can be used to boost the side," was how Atapattu explained when asked if he was worried about the poor form of his top batsmen. It gave enough indication that reserve opener Upul Taranga could be used as super-sub, if not as a regular member.

Tendulkar seems to dominate every conversation no matter what the issue is. Quizzed about the poor form of Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan, the Lankan skipper again retorted: "Can you blame them for the defeats. Vaas has long been consistent at the international level and it's certainly not his fault if Sachin is playing like this. I'm sure he will bounce back."

First Published: Oct 31, 2005 02:24 IST