Questions for Armchair Critics at Eden Gardens

 Michael Roberts ASKS: does not Lakmal’s beautiful spell in seaming conditions underline the failures of Gamage and Chandimal? 

YES, Lahiru Gamage inserted a few sharp in-dippers without luck, But I wonder why Chandimal did not introduce either Shanaka or Matthews for the 8th and 10th overs? We could go further: seeing the conditions on the day of the match, why did the tour selectors not take a bold step: drop Gamage and choose another batsman? or replace him with the third paceman in the squad: Fernando?

YES the latter are  bold thoughts. Yes, easier after the event and from an armchair. BUT the first suggestion was/is obvious> The thought arose as soon as the 5th/6th over when I saw Gamage’s trajectory and pitch-length. The scenario was/is BEDSER made not TRUEMAN-made.

I would go further. Given the 1eleven on the field, I would have asked Herath to emulate Underwood. Controlled bowling is more effective than that less controlled and too short-pitched. Having witnessed Vanderputt and Nizam open  bowling with slow left-arm in-dippers plus[lus for St. Aloysius in the 1950s, I step forth boldly thus.

McGrath-like Lakmal puts India in trouble

article_imageSri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal celebrates after taking the wicket of India’s Shikhar Dhawan during the first day of the first Test between India and Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens cricket stadium in Kolkata yesterday, November 16. (Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP)

Rex Clementine: McGrath-like Lakmal puts India in trouble,”

Since the heydays of Chaminda Vaas, you had hardly seen any Sri Lankan bowling like Suranga Lakmal, as he did yesterday at the iconic Eden Gardens here in Calcutta as he reduced the hosts to 17 for three as the opening day of the first Test was called off at 3:40 p.m. after several rain interruptions. Lakmal reminded the Indians of Glenn McGrath as he bowled with pinpoint accuracy. He may not have express pace, but gets the ball to move enough to trouble the batsmen.

Rain forced play to be delayed considerably and eventually when it got underway at 1:30 p.m., there were four further interruptions.

Lakmal was superb. He dismissed Lokesh Rahul off the first ball of the game and then having played mind games with Shikhar Dhawan, he tempted the batsman to attempt a wild drive. Dhawan was bowled off an inside edge.

The best moment of the rain-shortened day came a few overs later when Lakmal ended world’s best batsman Virat Kohli’s painful stay at the crease for a 11-ball duck. The Indian Captain was ruled leg before wicket, a decision that he went onto review unsuccessfully.

Sri Lanka desperately lacked Lakmal’s partner Nuwan Pradeep. His new-ball colleague is not injured, but has been rested as selectors feel that he cannot take the rigours of successive Test matches. What they perhaps could have done is to play Pradeep in the opening game, rest him in Nagpur and bring him back for the final game in Delhi. Are we thinking that we possess bowling reserves like that of South Africa, who can go onto become world’s number-one ranked team even without Dale Steyn?

Lahiru Gamage failed to back Lakmal as much as the team management wanted, although he came back and bowled better in the last spell. On such a green top, Sri Lanka’s choice for the third seamer was also queer. They opted for all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, whose bowling is not Test class. Could Vishwa Fernando be a better option with India’s perceived weakness against left-arm quicks?

Nothing can be taken away from Lakmal though, who bowled like a champion. At stumps on day one, he had claimed three wickets without conceding a run in a spell that extended for six overs. The fact that there were several stoppages helped Lakmal to come back fresh each time and attack.

Only 12 overs were sent down on the opening day with Sri Lanka desperately trying to get an edge in the game and put the hosts under pressure.




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