Playing against India is the epitome for any Cricket team these days.

The players know they can become stars overnight with a possible viewing audience of over 1 billion people. The boards know that they can rake in the money with advertising deals. The cricket wouldn’t be too bad either.

But I am Sri Lankan and I say enough with playing India. Every time I turn on the TV there is an orgy of blue out in the middle. And its not just the One dayers either – there is only so much test cricket a fan can take on dead sub continental pitches before you decide Australian day-time TV is not that bad after all. Although that might be pushing it a bit too far.

2010 year started with Sri Lanka having 2 scheduled international engagements. No- not 2 tours, just 2 matches. And that was the 2 group matches in the 2020 World Cup. This was disappointing by it self – but then SLC announced India will be in Sri Lanka for another test series. I kind of died a little inside that day.

The Sri Lanka v India fixture has occurred an annoying 32 times over the last 2 years. That’s 55 days of cricket against the same team. I doubt Roger Federer makes more grand slam finals.

There are 9 other test playing countries. But we keep picking India. Shouldn’t Sangakkara be stepping in at this point and saying ‘India is good but how about Afghanistan or China for a change’. And what’s wrong with India – whoring themselves to play us. Maybe they get some sadistic satisfaction in beating us over and over on pitches Stevie Wonder could score runs on.

What about the Irish for a change? Heck, they will fill out our hotels and consume our arrack till they look like Pink Salmons under the sun. At least they are fun bunch to play – and beat.

Afghanistan recently got ODI status didn’t they?

To hell with those 7 ODI bi-laterals. Can 2 of those and come to Sri Lanka I say. Is it a wonder Sri Lanka wet themselves when they get over to Australia or South Africa. We never play them or tour those countries. Well, not as much as we should anyway. The last time Australia toured Sri Lanka was 7 years ago.

Of course all the blame falls squarely those evil doers at the ICC. The FTP programme ensures cricket is played through the year but not a lot of thought seems to have gone into who plays who. At least not who Sri Lanka plays. Bangladesh seem to have a more dynamic tour Programme than us. Something is not right and I am not happy. Neither should you be.

A friend told me that ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ referring to the lack of cricket we have this year. Well once I gave a beggar 5rupees and she threw it back. So I guess they can.

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The first test promised much but delivered very little. The first 4 days dragged on without too much happening until Pricky made a generous declaration. In the end rain made sure that the affair ended in a dull draw.

So we look ahead to Mohali now.

Which isnt really known for its result oriented pitches. Teams batting first generally tend to do OK. But the 2nd and 3rd innings have proved to be the most profitable for the batsmen.

Batting
Australia-Polishing off the edges

Ponting and Hussey stole the show and Bagaloroo, what the hell is up with that anyway, We predicted a lean series for Pricky but he proves us wrong. Top effort. Still might be troubled if the spinners get their act together. Hussey just looks like hes on another plane altogether at the moment.

Clarke owes some runs to the team. I expect him to make a significant contribution in this game.
Watson and White did enough to keep their place. Hayden might need to make some runs to secure his place in the team. But the question is will Australia consider dropping him if he fails again? Jaques is breathing down his neck and is a very good replacement.

India-Relying on the openers.
All it takes is one innings from Sehwag and everyones predictions go out the window. He is due.
Gotham City Gambir played a solid hand but must convert his starts into considerable scores to make Ponting sweat.

The fab4 came to the rescue in the last innings but still look dodgy. Another false start in the first innings might leave India reeling.

Bowling
Australia– Team effort.
They bowled well as a unit , without exceeding at an individual level. Stuey needs to put up a better show in the wickets coloumn and Lee needs to make better use of the new ball for early break throughs. Watson, White and Clarke all will chip in with handy wickets. But you wonder when the lack of a quality spinner will finally tell on the Aussies.

India– Relying on the quicks.
Zaheer bowled superbly to put the Aussies under pressure. A repeat performance is expected. Sharma will be expected to deliver some early wickets as well. The biggest issue for India right now is the fitness of Kumble.

If he is unfit who do they go for? 3 quicks and Bajji?
Or bringing in Chawla?

Tough decisions. Personally Id back Chawla. He bowled well in the warm up game. Had the Aussies in trouble more often than not.

Captaincy
India is facing a huge dilemma at the moment. Whether to go with Dhoni or Kumble. An hour and half under Dhoni revealed a lot more about than Kumbles leadership than it did Dhonis. The players seem to respond to Dhoni more. He seems at ease with the job. He has his players respect and is Ian Chappels man for the job.

If Kumble is unfit, then Dhoni must be given the reins. If so then another issue arrises when Kumble is fit for the 3rd. If Dhoni does well the the problem is compounded.

I predicted the end of the road for Kumble after this series. It might not even go that far for him.

Verdict:Im going to go out on a limb and say an Aussie victory. They seem the more assured team. Their key players are firing. The captaincy is in safe hands and seem the team that can push on for a victory when the opportunity presents.

anil kumble australia border gambir gavaskar harbajan hayden india micheal clarke ms dhoni ponting sehwag stuart clark

For those who knew, Its good to be back.

For those who dint, well makes no difference to you I guess.

A lot changes in 4 days it seems.

Surprising no one worth their balls, the Kiwis beat the ever increasingly, annoyingly inconsistent Bangladeshi’s. They give you hope then they take it away, cruel.

Mr. Ashawful and co have a long ways to go yet.

The mighty mighty Lions, the Sri Lankan variety, not the British sort, smacked their way to a entertaining win in some far away land with no TV coverage.

Flyslips own Splendid Mendis won the Man of the series as per usual. Old man Sanath gave the crowd some entertainment as well, via his middle finger. Some LTTE supporters, a terrorist group, not a band or such like, apparently hounded some of the lads and Jayasuriya flipped the birdie to let them know how he felt.

Meanwhile back home, following a brilliant review of the Tier System in Sri Lankan domestic cricket by us, SLC decided that NO Tier B teams should enter into Tier A, thus the currently relegated Baduraliya(Tier A last placed) might not be sent into oblivion and become a non news worthy team after all.

In case you missed it, we recommended more teams enter Tier A, having read the report SLC decided to not let any team enter Tier A, we were naturally confused.

So 18 of the 20 teams now seem to be heading for a Boycott of the premier league. Things are not peachy.

Also, Mohammad Ashawful become the first and possibly the last batsmen to publically apologize for playing a bad shot. Sri Lankans have tried tirelessly to get Sanath Jayasuriya to do the same for years. And failed.

We applaud you son, even though we don’t like you that much for playing that shot.

Oh and those two teams in India right now played out some boring draw. A big bear attacked an old man got his rewards, We are proud of you.

Ps- Thanks to NWK for keeping the posts and entertainment going while I was away !

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It is upon us, through the haze of the hype surrounding the series, the day has finally come.

It looks like the weather might ruin things for all. But if it doesn’t, this is how I see things going down..

Batting
Australia– Strong.
Highly dependant on Hussey and Ponting and Clarke. And there is the problem. I don’t see a big series for Punter, he struggles against spin early on and if India get early wickets they can crowd him and put him under severe pressure. Struggled in the tour game against Chawla. So, the batting will revolve around Hussey and Clarke.

This series will be won in the middle order. But the importance of a good start cannot be under estimated. Hayden and Krab Kattich will need to offer solid starts consistently if Aus are to start a remotely good chance.

India-Potentially deadly
All the hype is around the Fab four and Ganguly right now, so its easy to forget Goutham City Gambir. We shouldn’t. He handeled Mendis and co brilliantly in Sri Lanka. I expect a big series for him

Sehwags a marked man, but as homer grumbled, he can change the game in a session. He did in SL. And that’s the only test India won.

The fab bore, don’t really look threatening to me. But on home soil, with this potentially being their last series, who knows. Its on a knives edge and you can feel it.

Bowling
Australia– One dimensional.
Fuck all the talk about the Australian spinner. I saw Krejza, hes shit. I’ve seen Cam white, hes harmless. Micheal Clarke- If Warne couldn’t . So yeh.

Lee and Stuey lead the charge. This is the first big test for this attack since Mcgrath and Warne left.
Away, with no experience in India. Lee will look to make his mark. Clark will have a belter.

3rd quick , who ever it may be will need to support with solid economical spells while these two dismantle India.

India– Nothing special.
Bajji will be the main threat. Kumble wont make an impact. Aussies have the wood on him. Strong performances from Adams apple and Zaheer might make the difference. Ishants been inconsistent since Australia, so its hard to see early wickets coming on a regular basis for India.

Leadership.
Neither are brilliant leaders. How Ponting uses his bowlers might decide this series.

1st test prediction– Draw, weather looks bad. So we might not get a full 5 days. With both attacks being generally weak this spells draw for me.

anil kumble australia border ganguly gavaskar harbajan huss india ishant sharma jason krejza mendis micheal clarke ponting sehwag stuart clark zaheer