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Sehwag’s knock could spur India to success

India went past Bermuda without much ado and now face the acid test on Friday, writes Ravi Shastri.
None | By Ravi Shastri
UPDATED ON MAR 21, 2007 02:30 AM IST

India went past Bermuda without much ado and now face the acid test on Friday. Now, there are no second chances. On the positive side, a win, which is on the cards, will really put them on a roll. One doesn’t want to read too much into India’s performance as Bermuda is a below-average side. But try telling that to Virender Sehwag. He caught on to the lifeline with both hands and for a moment we were prepared to ignore the quality of bowling.

This was a huge innings, one that could fire the team to bigger things. What stood out was the ease with which he got the runs. During his knock, one would have never imagined that here was a player struggling. Dravid has to be complimented here for sticking with his man.

India would now have to go back to the drawing board and thrash out the finer details on the Sri Lankans. They would have noticed the quality of Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan but also that they don’t fare as badly against them as some other international teams do. Just glancing at Murali’s bowling in his last 10 ODIs, one gets the feeling he hasn’t been taking wickets consistently. Only the Kiwis seems to fall in a heap against him.

It is though an area where Sri Lanka could be at their most dangerous. One has noticed in this World Cup that teams struggle to prise out batsmen in the middle overs. Sri Lanka are well served by Murali and Malinga in this respect. Both are wicket-takers.

Sanath Jayasuriya is a batsman who has worked tremendously on his onside play. No longer does he open the bat as much or flick the ball from his stumps with an angled bat. Don’t forget when India dismiss Jayasuriya under 30, they win 70 per cent of games.

India would be hoping they call the toss right on Friday. Despite the dry look of the pitch, Dravid wouldn’t make the mistake of batting first again. For the second straight day, it was evident that batting becomes easier in the second half.

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