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Sunday, 27 December 2009

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Sri Lanka totters with injury-hit team

CRICKET: NEW DELHI - Sri Lankan team is hit by a series of injuries and many players would have to take a fitness test this morning before the final XI could be named for the fifth and final one-day match played here today with India already wining the series 3-1.

Team Manager said that injuries to players are worrying them and naming the team would be delayed due to this factor.

Sri Lanka sought replacements for Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Angelo Mathews, Thilan Thushara and Chanaka Welegedara. Skipper Sangakkara also said that the team had been having injury problems forcing them to replace players every match. “This makes it tough for us to concentrate with the same side,” he said.

He was very harsh on the Lankan bowling outfit and said that they were not good enough to defend a match winning total. He made this accusation after centuries from Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir helped India beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Kolkata and take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the ODI series. “They could not maintain line and length and erred far too much giving opportunity for the batsmen to make strokes,” he said.

“It was disappointing to score what would have been a match winning total and then lose even after making two early break through.” India was 23 for 1 with both openers Shewag and Tendulkar out cheaply.

Opener Upul Tharanga struck his seventh century (118) and shared an entertaining 126-run third-wicket stand with skipper Kumar Sangakkara (60). “Upul Tharanga batted well and took off pressure from the lower order batsmen while Suraj Randiv and Suranga Lakmal bowled well.

If you look at our attack, our best bowlers have been debutantes. But for the fourth game it was not enough,” he lamented. Experienced bowler Lasith Malinga continued his disappointing performance by giving away 75 runs in 9 overs and going wicket less while Jayasuriya who only made 15 could not make up from the bowling as well giving away 42 in 7 overs. Malinga in the third ODI match in Cuttack too went wicket less for 56 runs. Gautam Gambhir cracked a career-best and his seventh one-day century and Virat Kohli recorded his first and put on 224 in just 214 balls for the third wicket winning the match with 11 deliveries to spare.

India’s stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag praised both Gambhir and Kohli said that the duo was very impressive and won the game for them. He also thanked Sachin Tendulkar. “He told me to get the bowlers bowl on his legs,” Sehwag said.

Commenting on the toss he said that it was a good toss to have lost as due to the dew factor bowlers were seen struggling to grip a wet ball. “Dew is a factor here in this weather. Even if I had won the toss, we would have fielded,” he said.

Man-of-the-Match Gautam Gambhir also endorsed this and said that dew was a key player. “Even when we last played here, Graeme Smith got a hundred and it was hard for the bowlers to grip the ball.”

“The same happened with the Sri Lankan bowlers today,” Gambhir said.

“I knew if we have enough wickets in hand, any target is possible after 40 overs. I thought we can wait till third Powerplay and take it from there,” said Gambhir who completed 3000 ODI runs.

Sri Lanka would have a stronger battle in their hands today with Dhoni coming back from his ban to strengthen the team.

 

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