1 century stand.

2 scores of more than 50.

4 batsmen.

18 innings.

12 long months.

Sanaths gone. SL are yet to move on. 4 different combinations have been tried and still Sri Lanka cant find a decent opening pair cool enough to match Marvan and Sanath.

Vandort,  too often he planted his giraffe legs on off stump and nicked it to first slip, to the tune of  17 runs on average in 12 months.

Prasanna Jayawardene, who can’t even put together  decent innings at his usual no 6 or 7 was pushed up against Bangladesh. Which resulted in a 1st ball duck and a 20, PJ was quickly pushed back down and the selectors pretended it never happened.

Paranavitana just debuted, another first baller and then ran himself out. Its early days to pass any judgement on him.

Its pretty clear that the selectors arn’t really sure who should open. That’s the thing about openers, you need to have two solid players at the top of the innings who can be relied upon to deliver, in all conditions. At the moment, the selectors don’t know who that should be. And that’s a big worry.

Mahela Udawatte is an obvious choice, and scored a decent 85 just a day ago in the inter-prov. He seems to have a handle in the ODIs, but you just never know till he plays.

The only thing remotely close to a constant in all this that the selectors seem to think Malinda Warnapura has something about him. He has partnered the other 3 guys who have been tried out.  Exactly what they see, we are not quite sure.

Yes, he has made runs in all the domestic comps. Yes, he has made a few runs in his short stint for SL. But there are so many bleeding holes in his technique outside off stump that his replacement cant be too far away either.

At least he has been given a good run. Which is good. And he averages 45 in the last year, even with his limited ability. Which is nifty for your first year on the job.

Hopefully the selectors find someone they think deserves a similar go at the other end.

Soon.

mahela udawatte malinda warnapura prasanna jayawardene Tharanga Paranavitana vandort

The premier leagues have been decided, its now time for the domestic inter-prov tournament in SL.

Most people probably don’t know about it but SL has a 2 tier 4 day game tournament followed by the Inter-Provincial Tournament, also played over 4 days.

Lesser teams – 5

Tougher competition.

Bashnahira North have been in thumping form winning both their games so far, but have run into a bit of trouble against their name sake from the South.

After leaking 300 runs in the first day, they will need to peg the Southerners back to stop them from putting up a massive score.

Its the openers that killed it for the South, 19 year old, Lahiru Thirimane and Yohan de Silva put on a double century opening stand, Thirimanne going on to claim his maiden first-class century and looks well set to add to that with Milinda Siriwardene who is also set on 45.

Yohan should have scored a 100, instead on 98 had a brain-freeze facing Kandamby, yes he of the middle order batting shenanigans v India but rarely renowned for his bowling. In fact this was a last throw of the dice from the Nothern captain after being taken for 200 runs for the first wicket.

Lahirus knock was a brave one, up against possibly one of the fastest and craziest men on the Island, Dammika Prasad – who should be in Pakistan but is needlessly scaring batsmen back home. And also the much lauded future SL all rounder- Angelo Matthews.

With alot of batting to come, including the banished Chamara Silva, the Sotherners are looking good. Its also a big match because a win for South will probably put them in 2nd position on the tables.

The problem for Bas N. is that the ‘new ball’ is already 20 overs old and they can’t afford to depend on Kandamby for more wickets.

anjelo mathews basnahira north basnahira south dammika prasad Inter-Provincial Tournament lahiru thirimanne thilina kandamby tier a tier b

On the shores of New Zealand.

Think –  Sheep, greenery, Martin Crowe and the youngest nation on earth, according to www.newzealand.com- surely they cant be wrong.

India are there after about 7 years or so, when NZ had their way with India. In fact, out of the 7 test series played between the two countries, India have won only once. Which also happened to be the first time India went there.

So that’s 32 years that India have failed to notch up an away win in a series.

32 years is a long time to have waited.

Even with the likes of Tendulkar, Gangualy, Dravid, VVS, Harbajan, Kumble in their team India have flopped. And flopped badly.

But this time India knows it will be different. And while NZ are doing everything they can to put the favorites tag on them, India are merely going about the preparations and adjusting to the conditions.

Conditions that are traditionally alien to them, Conditions they usually struggle in. This is an Indian team that believes in the work ethic and one that takes a day at a time. Its the product of two men in particular, MSD and Gary Kirsten.

The Kiwis are already talking about how star struck and rich the Indian are. Mark Richardsons gone a step further and said its like playing golf with your ‘boss’. All very good until you realise this has nothing to do with the cricket that is to be played.

India posses an arsenal of talent which they will unleash on the Kiwis in a day or two. If talent alone wont win it for them they have enough self belief to start a religion with. What India did to SL in that 2020 game is still fresh on a few peoples minds, not least mine.

This Indian team is one that knows what they can do without being outwardly abrasive about it.

They are the in form team, over the last year they have won 5 out of their 12 tests.  Add to that 21 out of 27 ODIs. Its a team at the peak of their powers.

On the other hand New Zealand are struggling to find  consistent form, winning only 2 of their 12 matches, which includes a win against Bangladesh.

Then there is one factor that trumps it all.

The MSD.

I’m sure the Kiwis have all heard about it, about a month ago I saw it first hand. Under Dhoni India are an unstoppable beast at times. Its a finely tuned well drilled machine.

There are match winners throughout the line up. And Dhoni likes notching up the records under his belt.

The 32 year drought is one that will surely interest him.

Plus they have god on their side.

Literally.

new zealand v india

And it had been for over 2 days now.

Until the customary ‘late in the 5th day drama’ which intrigues all of us, gets the cricinfo commentators excited but amounts to nothing in the end.

Mahela,as ever, spoke about the positives. Sri Lanka’s batting which has been a worry over the last month had to put up a good performance. So all the big boys put their hands up.

Sangakkara has started a dangerous trend of getting a 50 and then getting out. We know he is capable of the big one, he knows it too. This pitch had 200 written all over it for King Sanga but he let it slip in both innings.

Of course the most impressive of the lot has to be Thilan. He has shot down every myth that surrounds him, that he is no good outside SL, that he is too slow, that he isn’t cool.

Maybe this innings isn’t the best example of his over seas capabilities but the man is scoring runs, for his club, for his country and has almost tripled his SR in the last year or so.

He averages 84 with 3 centuries in the last year. You can’t argue with that.

Tharanga Paranavitana, on debut bagged a golden duck and 9 runs on a pitch where everyone else scored zillion at least. Its a tough initiation but we know the kids got talent.Unfortunately this may have been the best pitch to have made a debut on, ever.

Luckily for him Pakistani debutant, Sohail Khan fared no better, going at 5 and 6 rpo in both innings.

But Wasim Akarams backing him. Who are we to argue with him.

In the end this was more of a triumph for Pakistan than anyone else.

14 months in test wilderness. A new captain. Playing a top team in the world, against two of the best spinners going around.

Pakistan showed they still have the man power to more than compete. Younus seems like the best fit to lead them and is saying all the right things.

He wants Pakistan to be aggressive. Who doesn’t. Long have we waited to see the resurgence of the team that sits on a knife edge of brilliance or utter failure. Pakistan used to be one of my favorite teams, till all the drug scandals and controversies.

Who woudln’t want to see the making of the next Anwar, or Akram or Waquar. The list is endless.

Of course things would be much better if we had a better pitch. Here is hoping for just that.

ajantha mendis mahela jayawardane malinda warnapura sangakkara shoaib malik sri lanka v pakistan test cricket Tharanga Paranavitana tilan samaraweera younis khan

Even Q over at Well Pitched doesn’t seem to know this. What kind of blogger is he anyway, don’t even know his players names.

Whatever the fuck his name is, I hope he fucking gets the 400. Because that would be the ONLY pissing highlight of this game.

You cant blame either side for whats transpired over the last 4 days.

Sri Lanka batted at over 4rpo for the whole of their innings and set up 600. Pakistan had to get 446 to avoid the follow on.

But the wicket has just been so fucking useless and flatter than a Canadian highway. You could play bloody snooker on that piece of shit turf.

The four spinners, who were supposed to be the key weapons in this test have figures of

82 – 8 – 310- 5 (Malik and Kaneria).

115- 25- 300- 2 (Murali and Mendis).

At least 3 of these bowlers can be considered genuine spinners who could, on their day, trouble any batsmen in the world. But then again it comes to the pitch, which has not offered an ounce of solace for anyone.

So Younus, the keg falls into your lap, or rather your hands and maybe your bat, if this test match is to be remembered for anything other than this epitome of docile pitches, then please go out there and better Brian Lara.

I don’t care how you get there, but I prefer if you get there in quickfucking time.

You don’t have to prove to us about your levels of concentration, we have seen it in every one of  545 balls you have faced so far.

Just inject some life into this game. Reverse sweep Dilhara if you can. Maybe switch hit for a six. At least then the selectors might see how shit he is and drop him.

You owe (youn)US.

You bleeding owe us.

sri lanka v pakistan younis khan