Monday, September 21, 2009

Jayasuriya – still Sri Lanka’s match winner

The master is still a match winner

The world’s best ODI player with a fantastic record not just in ODI’s but in Test’s too, Sanath Jayasuriya may be 40 plus but is still raring to go. Despite a rather modest return at home in the recent T20 games against New Zealand there is little doubt that Sanath Jayasuriya is still very much the Master Blaster and holds the key to a very great extent with regards to the success of Sri Lanka in the shorter version of the game and in the Champions Trophy in South Africa. Known for his attacking batsmanship with his liking for the upper cut and the pull Jayasuriya can be devastating when on song. All Sri Lankans will be naturally hoping that “Sana” as he is fondly known will be able to fire on all cylinders come the big event in South Africa as there is very little doubt that he is one of the most feared batsmen in world cricket.

Looking in to his beginnings Jayasuriya started his game as an aggressive middle order batsman and was always hailed as a future star for Sri Lanka. This was further confirmed when on a tour to Pakistan with the Sri Lanka A team Jayasuriya had the rare distinction of scoring back to back double hundreds, a feat which I am sure will be extremely tough to emulate! Especially for a visiting batsman in Pakistan!
Despite his brilliance in batting in the middle order Jayasuriya’s ascendancy to the openers spot was something totally unexpected. Having been asked to open on the controversial tour to Australia in the mid nineties, the great left hander since then has never looked back. It was on the same tour that both Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana another hard hitting wicket keeper opening batsman started the innovative batting approach to the first ten overs of a ODI game by smashing the bowlers to all parts of the ground giving the game a new dimension and definitely to the rest of the teams some food for thought in its approach to ODI cricket. Come 1996 Wills World Cup Sanath Jayasuriya received a major recognition being picked the most valuable player of the tournament, ahead of some big names such as Mark Waugh, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Sri Lanka’s own Aravinda De Silva, confirming his status as a rising star of the world scene.

Sanath Jayasuriya had arrived and was ready to stay for a very long time in the game!

Since then Jayasuriya has definitely been the star of many Sri Lankan shows. Be it smashing one day hundreds or scoring the 340 against India at the Premadasa Stadium in that World Record Test score or the breathtaking double hundred against England at the Oval, when Sri Lanka won a test match for the first time in that country, Jayasuriya was simply all class. With his phenomenal record of almost 20,000 plus runs at International cricket with 42 hundreds and 99 half centuries plus his 417 wickets, he will surely be a very strong contender for the title “Sri Lanka’s greatest ever Cricketer”.

It will be with that background and pedigree that Sanath Jayasuriya will enter the ring against the world’s top bowlers, when the ICC Champions Trophy begins with the opening game against the top ODI team in the world, South Africa. Taking a much closer look at Jayasuriya’s skills at the advanced cricketing age of 40 it’s interesting to note the many changes he has adopted in his batting and how beautifully his game has been fine tuned. Sanath Jayasuriya is without an iota of doubt one of the hardest working cricketers in the world. When critics questioned his ability to cope with the short rising ball directed at the body or his horizontal shots at the top of the order, Jayasuriya’s reply was to let his broad bat talk and that he achieved with a lot of dedication and commitment which he still religiously pursues even now. One could only but marvel at Sanath watching him on the cricket field, either fielding so brilliantly with his running, pickups and even accurate throwing or stifling a batting line up with his left arm spin or simply smashing the bowling around.

Jayasuriya has challenged even the fittest men in the cricketing arena of Sri Lanka in that aspect. It is a clear indication that he is still able to deliver. With not many more Everest’s to conquer for this great left hander, I am sure he would want to call it a day when he is on a high. And one way of being on a high is to perform in the Champions Trophy in South Africa. Sanath we know you have done it in the past and we know you can do it again.


The Matara Marauder - Forever young Sanath Jayasuriya

Sanath Jayasuriya is 40 years and 81 days today, but his current form makes it seem as if he is still in his 20s.

The balance that Jayasuriya maintains while playing his shots and the elegance with which he drives the ball to scorch it through mid-wicket is ample proof of the fact that he has not only lived to the tag of being the most experienced batsman in the game, but is still the best!

Although age catches up with most players, in the case of Jayasuriya it doesn't seem to have happened purely because of his dedication and determination to remain the best.

Watch Jayasuriya closely during training and it is evident that he puts in as much effort to maintain their fitness as they do to sharpen their skills

While Jayasuriya is at least a decade older than many of his team members, he does not shy away from competing with the youngsters during physical training. In fact, during the Twenty20 World Cup in England, he was seen performing more stretches than his team-mates.

Even in the nets, Jayasuriya's pull shots and on-drives are executed with incredible balance. His ability to pick the ball early on gives a feeling that he sights the ball better than others. Like Tendulkar, he too gets his pacers to bowl short at him and almost always gets behind the ball and hits it with immaculate perfection.

Off the field, he is a humble and simple cricketer with no airs of being the best in the game. During tours, he is hardly seen in the hotel lobby or even returning from late night parties. His main focus is performance.

Little wonder then that Jayasuriya has scored 13,433 runs in One-dayers. This Champions Trophy edition will be another opportunity to see him at his best.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sanath Jayasuriya vs Sachin Tendulkar - Finals | The Greatest ODI Batsman Poll by ESPN Star

After weeks of polling by Cricket fans allover the world, The Greatest ODI Batsman poll by ESPN Star has come to the Grand Final stage.

The winner will be announced by ESPN during the Champions Trophy pre show on Tuesday, September 22, 2009.

Lets look at whom they both defeated in the Road to the Finals.

Sanath Jayasuriya beat :  Saurav Ganguly, Viv Richards, Saeed Anwar, Adam Gilchrist,Chris Gayle, Michael Bevan and Dean Jones.

Sachin Tendulakar beat : Aravinda de Silva, Brian Lara, Mathew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Abbas, Gordon Greenidge.

This being Sanath Jayasuriya Blogspot, I request all you fans to keep voting for Sanath Jayasuriya - The One who changed the way cricket is being played today !

Thursday, September 17, 2009

40 year old veteran Jayasuriya breaks into ICC ODI Batting Ranking's Top 20

After the Tri Series Compaq cup moving up the order was Sri Lanka's veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya whose series contribution of 141 has helped him return to the top 20. The 40-year-old from Matara has jumped four places to 17th spot.
However, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has failed to defend his 11th position and has fallen to 15th spot after scoring just 56 runs in three matches.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

World Record for Sanath Jayasuriya – Most runs against a specific opposition

Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya has a world record to his credit – he now has most runs against a specific opposition in the history of one day games. He had an aggregate of 2714 runs prior to the start of the third game between Sri Lanka and India in the ongoing Compaq series.
When he was on 17 during the course of his knock of 98 in this game, his aggregate of runs against India stood at 2731 which was a world record for most runs by a batsman against a specific opposition in the history of one day games. At the end of this game, ST Jayasuriya’s run aggregate against India stood at 2812. The previous record was held by SR Tendulkar of India who had amassed 2730 runs against Australia.
ST Jayasuriya and SR Tendulkar are the only two batsmen in the world to aggregate 2500 plus runs against two specific oppositions. At the end of this game, ST Jayasuriya has an aggregate of 2812 runs against India and 2517 runs against Pakistan. SR Tendulkar on his part, has an aggregate of 2730 runs against Australia and 2611 runs against Sri Lanka. He scored 27 runs in this game

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jayasuriya still has a lot to offer - Murali

By Muttiah Muralitharan.

There is something about playing India that seems to bring out the best in Sanath (Jayasuriya). Having played with him for nearly two decades and having witnessed first-hand his fondness for their bowling, I was not surprised to see him confound his critics once again on Saturday night with a brilliant display. 
With no fifty-plus score since January, his critics in the local media were getting more vocal about his future as he is 40 now. However, we all know with Sanath that he is used to bouncing back and he takes just one knock to surge back to his best. As he showed, age is irrelevant if you are still fit and have fast reactions. 
 Sanath showed that fitness with his superb running. Playing One-day cricket in the Premadasa cauldron is exhausting even for young legs, but Sanath coped with that physical challenge easily. He also showed off the value of all his 437-game experience, settling the innings after the loss of Dilshan, Mahela and Sanga. 
Sanath’s effort shows that he still has more to give and as long as he can chip in with those kind of performances, he will remain a valuable member of our One-day unit. We have a mix of young and old in our team right now and both starred on Saturday. The performances of Thilina Kandamby and Angelo Mathews were just as heartening as Sanath’s knock. 
Our middle order has been a problem area for some time now. We’ve had players of ability, but no one has really settled. Now, though, Thilan Samaraweera is starting to shine and Kandamby is looking increasingly promising. The calm and mature manner in which he guided us in the final stages of the innings, especially in the final Power-Play, was very impressive. 
In Mathews we know we’ve also uncovered an all rounder of real substance: a top-class batsman, the best of which we are yet to see, and a canny seamer with a knack for taking key wickets, as he showed with his remarkable match bag of 6 for 20. He has the head for international cricket and I think he’ll mature into one of the best allrounders in the world. 
We were obviously delighted by our performance. But today’s game is the game that counts and we have to reproduce that form again. 
India were well below par, perhaps rusty after a long layoff and maybe even tired as they were playing back-toback games. I have no doubt that after a day’s rest, they’ll put together a much better effort. We were fortunate to win the toss on Saturday, but if we don’t on Monday then we have to be ready to overcome that disadvantage and restrict India to a manageable total. 
In the last series in February, we let them pile-up huge totals and the bowlers cannot let that happen in the final. Chasing anything above 250 will be tough.

Jayasuriya and Aravinda reach Semi-Finals | ESPN Star Greatest ODI Batsman Poll

Good News !! Sanath Jayasuriya & Aravinda De Silva have reached the Semi-Finals of the Poll.

But the bad news is both are trailing against Sachin and Saurav respectively by small margin.  :'(

Time to vote as many times as possible and make a Sri Lankan win this poll, hopefully Sanath Jayasuriya

Ho (Sanna) Jayasuriya - Compaq Cup Finals Preview

Today is another day,another wicket and another match - the Compac Cup final between Sri Lanka and India at the R. Premadasa Stadium under lights.The Sri Lankans who had no difficulty in stuffing the Indians on Saturday,should stay focussed and not let complacency set in when they front up to the Indians and there should be no letting up till the Compac Cup is held aloft by captain Kumar Sangakkara.
On Saturday Sanath Jayasuriya and Thilana Kandamby were unfortunate to miss well deserved hundreds.
After the Jayasuriya, Kandamby show, Angelo Mathews took centre stage to demolish the highly rated Indian batting line up Those feats are history now and what matters is how the Sri Lankans perform today.
There is no doubt that the two skippers Kumar Sangakkara and Mahendra Singh Dhoni would be asking the gods to look kindly on them and help them win the all important toss. Winning of the toss would mean 50 per cent of the final being won.
The two skippers will sure have their hearts in their mouths when the coin is tossed.
On Saturday dashing left hander Sanath Jayasuriya came back to his batting form which he is renowned for.He was all concentration and determination as he began to unwind and play the strokes that has earned him bags full of runs in all versions of the game in his illustrious career.
Another repeat is expected from Jayasuriya. It is said that if Jayasuriya fires, the other batsmen tend to strike form. The 307 runs the team made proves this.
What was very noticeable was that the Indian pacemen Asish Nehra, Rudra Singh and Ishant Sharma did not pitch short and allow Jayasuriya to play his famous square cut,which in recent times has brought about his downfall.
Maybe they were reserving the short pitched ball to lure Jayasuriya today. Jayasuriya must guard against this and instead of going for his shots square of the wicket, should endeavour to play in front, going over the top when the opportunity presents itself.
When Jayasuriya was on song, it was irritating to hear Danny Morrison and Mike Haysman, the two TEN SPORTS commentators constantly referring to Jayasuriya as old man. Instead of being insulting, Morrison and Haysman would do well to concentrate and describe Jayasuriya in much more respectable terms and not belittle the great man, remembering that he has been tagged as the greatest one-day cricketer by two respected and brilliant writers in Scyld Berry and Don Cameron.
Morrison and Haysman can learn from the brilliant Tony Greig.
Jayasuriya has come in for a lot of stick in recent times for his failures with the bat. With this solid and well crafted knock of 98, he cocked a snook at his detractors.
When under fire for his failures, the only way Jayasuriya could hook these barbs is by letting his bat do the talking, like he did on Saturday before a packed audience who cheered this gutty cricketer all the way through his innings.
When Nehra got a ball to keep low and catch Jayasuriya in front two short of a dream hundred, and when umpire Kumar Dharmasena raised the dreaded finger there was a deafening silence by the crowd who sadly watched the great man walking back to the pavilion. Dharmasena a former team mate of Jayasuriya who had to perform that unpleasant task would have told Jayasuriya - "Sorry mate, you got to go".
After Jayasuriya set the stadium alight, young Thilana Kandamby blossomed and showed what he is capable of by running to a quickfire unbeaten 91, before running short of overs and missing out on three figure score.
After the batting lessons from Jayasuriya and Kandamby, right arm medium pacer Angelo Mathews ran rings around the Indian batsmen bowling a devastating spell to have the dream figures of 6 for 20 which earned him the man of the match award.
Mathews bowled his medium pacer on beautiful line and length and his in dippers especially was a lesson in this art.
The greatness of a batsman or a bowler is consistency. It is hoped that Mathews will maintain this consistency and deliver today too.
As for the Indians, they must have spent sleepless nights licking their wounds and wondering as to what hit them. The Lankans must guard against an Indian backlash.

[VIDEO/PICS] Sanath Jayasuriya 98 from 79 balls vs India | Compaq Cup 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jayasuriya whets his appetite - Hammers India

As last night’s match between Sri Lanka and India meandered to a close, fans at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium held aloft a placard which read: “Tonight’s special – Indians barbecued”.

It was an apt description of India’s fate in the third match of the Compaq Cup triangular series. They crashed to a 139-run defeat, their worst against Sri Lanka, with veteran Sanath Jayasuriya (98) and youngster Angelo Mathews (6-20) feasting on their neighbours from across the Palk Strait.

Jayasuriya simply relishes the Indian bowling attack. He has scored more runs (2,812) and centuries (seven) against India than versus any other country. Even his last century in one-day internationals had come against them in January this year.

Since then, he had been struggling for runs with a modest aggregate of 139 from eight games and a top score of 37. Critics were getting increasingly vocal about the 40-year-old’s position in the Sri Lankan side. But he replied them in style.

Jayasuriya’s knock and Thilina Kandamby’s unbeaten 91 helped Sri Lanka post 307 for six and the score proved well beyond the Indians, who were bowled out for 168 in 37.2 overs.

The attacking opener Jayasuriya got off to a typically blustery start as Sri Lanka posted 72 from the opening 10 overs. He was 42 then, but did not reach his 50 until the 20th over, starved of the strike as wickets fell regularly at the other end.

Still, his 68th half-century, and first in nine matches, came in 45 deliveries.

Exactly 10 overs later, Jayasuriya fell two agonising runs short of what could have been his 29th century in ODIs. He tried to work Ashish Nehra across the line and former teammate Kumara Dharmasena showed no hesitancy in raising his finger.

Jayasuriya was the fourth Sri Lankan wicket to fall, with the score at 172 for four. Thilina Kandamby continued from there and the 27-year-old made sure the good start was not wasted.

Jayasuriya & Kandamby - A tale of two left-handers

Like the bad guy in any number of horror flicks, who keeps coming back no matter how many times you hurt him, Sanath Jayasuriya just refuses to go away. Asked by a journalist going into this series about the disappointing failures of Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara replied matter-of-factly: "We all know what Sanath can do and what he has done. We have to give him every chance to get back in there and score runs."
Jayasuriya's stroke-filled 98 - he has seven centuries against India, and averages 37.00 against them as against a career average of 32.69 - was a forceful retort to those, this writer included, who questioned his ability to come up with the goods after a scratchy last few months.
There are many vital decisions a captain has to make, and when playing day-night matches in Sri Lanka, calling correctly at the toss is one of the most important. Jayasuriya began as he meant to, driving RP Singh on the rise over extra cover and pushing another four back past mid-on. Aside from a thick outside edge that flew wide of slip when he was on 13, Jayasuriya was basically in control. Three boundaries swatted off RP in the tenth over were coated in the arrogance which forms an intrinsic part of any legend's armoury.
Today, Sri Lanka lost Tillakaratne Dilshan, their most successful batsman in recent times, and then the crucial pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in relatively quick succession. India's bowlers were threatening to mount a vice-like grip on proceedings, with an inexperienced duo to follow. What did Jayasuriya do? He marched on, employing a wide array of sweeps to counter the introduction of spin. Some were, frustratingly, just out of reach of fielders, a few were delicately paddled, others worked into the gaps for singles while one, off Yusuf Pathan, nearly knocked RP Singh off his feet for it was thumped so hard.
The man with two decades and 437 one-day caps worth of experience played an invaluable role and showed, for the umpteenth time, just why he's been such a prolific run-scorer for Sri Lanka. Don't go by the batting average; this man's capacity to savage attacks and, often gone unnoticed, score freely when Sri Lanka are struggling, has proved of immense value over the years. Jayasuriya has scored 50 or more on 96 occasions in ODIs, and Sri Lanka have won 66 of those games.
Jayasuriya's dismissal on 98, and the almost immediate wicket of Angelo Mathews, may have given India reason to believe they had matters under control, but as it turned out, Thilina Kandamby played a stellar innings that put India on the back foot and then crippled them. Different from Jayasuriya in gait, stance, ability and approach, Kandamby coolly kept runs ticking along as he poached precious singles and twos. With Chamara Kapugedera playing fluently, Kandamby was able to nudge and maneuver the ball into gaps, at first happy to let his partner do most of the scoring.
Key to this stand was the fact that Kandamby and Kapugedera looked to score off each ball. They ran hard and weren't reliant on boundaries. Out of those 83 runs, only five came in fours. Of the 92 balls they played, only 33 didn't add to the run-count. But it was workmanlike and skillful. Kandamby paced his innings exceptionally well - when Kapugedera was dismissed in the first over of the Powerplay, Kandamby had 46 from 54 balls, but by the time he was done he had scored 91 off 73, at a strike-rate of 124.65. As he showed against India earlier this year, he again proved himself adept at building a good one-day innings under pressure. Efforts like that are often the difference between winning and losing.
Like Thilan Samaraweera on Tuesday, Kandamby was perfectly appropriate for the proverbial cat-and-mouse game, smartly knocking the ball in the gaps. Then, as the batting Powerplay was taken after 45 overs, he jacked it up tremendously. Some shots were pure class, including a full-blooded shot past backward point after backing away and two deliberate paddles off the quicks. It was riveting batting.
Jayasuriya has grabbed the local headlines lately for all the wrong reasons. Kandamby hasn't even occupied a paragraph. Jayasuriya has refrained from replying to criticism vocally. Consigned for some time to benches, Kandamby hasn't had a lot of opportunities. Driven by desperation, and fuelled by self-belief, the two left-handers shone.

Fabulous at 40, Sanath Jayasuriya shows how it’s done

India’s bowlers may be a young bunch, but every member of their coaching staff, from Gary Kirsten to Robin Singh to Venkatesh Prasad has been at the wrong end of a Sanath Jayasuriya special at one time or another. The number of times the ageless left-hander has turned it on against India, especially when he was under a bit of pressure, is uncanny. Saturday was no exception.
From a brisk start to calculated acceleration, the tempo of Jayasuriya’s innings was inversely proportional to the morale of India’s bowlers. At 40, sport does not give you too many chances, and already the calls for a proper succession plan were gathering volume. The only person, it seems, who can’t hear the summons, is Jayasuriya. To put things in perspective, Kumar Dharmasena, an on-field umpire in this game, made his debut Test debut five years after Jayasuriya, and played his last game five years ago.
Some simple questions help clarify the current status quo of Jayasuriya continuing to figure in the ODI team. Is he fit? Some may have noticed a slight increase in the frequency with which he drops catches, but the manner in which he hares between the wickets, repeatedly pushing players half his age, make it clear that this is not an issue.
The second question anyone would ask is whether the extra leeway being given to Jayasuriya is holding the team back. While Sri Lanka’s results in ODIs have been up and down over the last few months, the single biggest contributor to this has been the inconsistency of their inexperienced batsmen. If anything, the team can use Jayasuriya’s services now more than ever.
The third question the selectors and the captain need to answer honestly is whether a quality young player is being denied chances because Jayasuriya’s career has now extended beyond two decades. The fact of the matter is that several young players have been given opportunities, and no-one has been able to seal a place in the team. 
Even Thilina Kandamby, who showed on Saturday just how efficient a finisher he can be, had managed just one substantial score from 15 matches prior to the game. Tharanga Paranavitana is making a name for himself in the world of cricket, but is possibly some way from replacing someone like Jayasuriya.
That then, leaves you with one final question. Just how long does Jayasuriya plan to go on? With his valuable 98, the marauder from Matara has bought himself some more time before he has to provide an answer.

Jayasuriya returns to form as Mathews demolishes feeble India

India's stay at No. 1 in the ICC rankings lasted all of 24 hours. Sri Lanka reasserted their superiority at home, scoring 307, and then strangled wickets at regular intervals to completely rout India in the dress rehearsal for Monday's final. Sanath Jayasuriya and Thilina Kandamby scored brilliant nineties after which the Premadasa reaffirmed its status as one of Sri Lanka's safe houses. Leading a canny display of seam bowling was Angelo Mathews, who picked out six wickets like plastic ducks in a shooting gallery. Blinded by the lights, India were steamrolled and suffered their biggest loss, in terms of runs, on Sri Lankan soil.
After Kumar Sangakkara had won the toss and chosen to bat, there was a welcome return to form for a key player. Jayasuriya, without a fifty-plus score since January, could have gone on 13 when he edged Ishant Sharma wide of slip, but was chanceless thereafter. He used the width on offer to judder boundaries and as Sri Lanka reached 34 in four overs, India had reason to fear the worst.
The loss of Tillakaratne Dilshan didn't cramp Jayasuriya's style and he continued to punish even the smallest indiscretion in line and length. With Jayasuriya pulling and driving RP Singh for three fours in an over, India's best option was to train their efforts at the other end. MS Dhoni gave them the breakthrough by stumping Mahela Jayawardene down the leg side. Sangakkara departed soon after, out lbw to a straight delivery from the impressive Harbhajan Singh, whose first six overs cost 13 as he struck a teasing line.
Jayasuriya had been slowed down due to a loss of strike. Incredibly, he spent 13 deliveries spread over 9. 1 overs in the forties. As the pop anthem of the year, the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling", blared across the thumping stadium Jayasuriya raised his half-century. The crowd cheered loudly. Those cheers turned to thunderous applause when Jayasuriya hammered Yuvraj Singh's short-pitched offerings over midwicket for consecutive fours. Jayasuriya's running between the wickets was superb and belied his age. Seven doubles - three of which came in one over - and three triples were just as punishing for India as the 13 boundaries Jayasuriya picked.
With the crowd rooting for his every run, Jayasuriya played to the gallery: Ashish Nehra was cleverly swatted wide of short fine leg, Yusuf Pathan was swept and paddled with power and precision. There was to be no century, however, as Nehra removed Jayasuriya for 98.
But there was something more deadly to come. Kandamby and Chamara Kapugedera put together an 83-run partnership that would all but seal the fate of the game. As is required when a pair must build on the excellent work of a player before them, they kept the scoring rate healthy. They weren't as belligerent as Jayasuriya but ran well, called loudly, and found the gaps.
Kandamby made sure to cut out any ambitious swings through the off side, opting to run hard for must of his initial runs and only backed himself to play aggressive shots when the run rate needed a boost. Anything that was too full or too loose disappeared and plenty in between was pushed away for ones and twos. The boundary patrollers were kept on attention as he swatted and deflected regularly.
A fabulous display of clean, crisp hitting - not slogging - helped Sri Lanka poach 53 off the batting Powerplay. A flurry of chips and biffs sailed over the square-leg region and extra cover, in between two awesome laps around the corner and one violent heave over midwicket. Aided by a drop at mid-on when he was 73, Kandamby added 18 more to his total and ensured Sri Lanka a winning score.
On tracks like this, against skilful bowlers who know more about choking than the average serial killer, successful pursuit of 308 needed something special. It wasn't to be. India again lost Dinesh Karthik early in the piece, gloving a short ball from Thilan Thushara down the leg side, and when Sachin Tendulkar turned a slower ball from Nuwan Kulasekara to mid-on, the warning sign was flashing.
With Tendulkar back in the hutch India shifted to the lowest gear. Yuvraj Singh survived a clear nick when on 9 but repeated the loose prod and nibbled one behind. Suresh Raina, one of the heroes of yesterday's run chase, nicked his first ball. Rahul Dravid was twice reprieved by Sri Lanka's fielders who missed the stumps, but his luck ran out on 47 when Mathews snuck one past the bat. The rest came and went without much impact against Mathews, who bowled nippy, stump-to-stump seam-up bowling. It literally was a procession: pitch it straight, get a bit of cut and nip, and thanks for coming.
Missing their lead spinner and hardly relying on Ajantha Mendis, Sri Lanka's latest masters of asphyxiation did it comfortably in the end.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Is it time for Jayasuriya to call it a day ?

With 436 matches and more than 13,000 runs under his belt, Sanath Jayasuriya is undoubtedly one of greatest plaWiyers in the ODI pantheon. But like all good things come to an end, Sri Lanka's most explosive opening batsman is now in the last leg of his brilliant career.

He has gone through lean patches before. Like in July 2004, after two consecutive hundreds against Bangladesh and India, Jayasuriya's form went into a slump for 26 innings before he again broke free with a 114 against  Australia at Sydney in June 2006.

Then there was phase between March 2007 and June 2008 when he went without a big knock for 29 innings at a stretch. Before the slump started, he got a three-figure knock against the West Indies in their den.

The next one came in the 30th innings against Bangaldesh in Karachi. Jayasuriya topped that with another one against India at the same venue six days later.

That Jayasuriya has scored one hundred and two 50s in his last 20 innings may not sound very alarming but there is a marked difference in his approach now. Earlier, when Jayasuriya was on song, one could hardly differentiate a good ball from a bad one.

He has this uncanny knack of playing a short-arm pull on a good length ball on or outside the off stump, and deposit it over the square leg fence.

But now Jayasuriya waits for a loose ball to pounce on it. Even in the first match against New Zealand on Tuesday, he waited and waited before he got out caught at thirdman, trying to create space to cut a rising ball.

Rivals no longer think about plotting Jayasuriya's downfall because he doesn't look to be the same fearsome batsman he once was. However, the Lankans are not willing to pull the curtain on his career yet.

"It is nothing like that," says his former opening partner Romesh Kaluwitharana with whom he terrorized the world, exploiting the field restrictions in the first 15 overs.

"Santh is still the same batsman. He is going through a lean patch alright but he will come out of it soon. I have seen him do that in the past and I am sure he will do it now too," he added.

His current opening partner Tillakratne Dilshan thinks that he is just one knock away from regaining his old touch. "One good innings and people will again see the same Sanath of yesteryears," said Dilshan. "Moreover, he is very fit and he has no injury worries. Lean phases do come in a cricketer's career, it is nothing permanent," Dilshan said.

"And if Sanath is fit and wants to continue, Sri Lankan Cricket will never stop him from competing," added Kaluwitharana.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Jayasuriya , Arjuna Ranatunga & co add Lankan Flavour in SPG centenary match

On Sunday morning former India skipper Ajit Wadekar was at Shivaji Park. He had an eye on the sky. Shivaji Park Gymkhana (SPG) were playing Parsee Gymkhana and Wadekar was hoping that the rain stays away.

Twenty two Test players in all, including Vijay Manjrekar, Subash Gupte, Ramakant Desai, Bapu Nadkarni, Wadekar and Praveen Amre have represented Shivaji Park
As part of the centenary celebrations, Wadekar is banking on old and trusted friends. During the early 1970s, Wadekar's State Bank of India (SBI) team used to tour Sri Lanka. This was before the Island Nation received Test status.

The SBI tours were aimed at helping the Lankans improve their standard of cricket and at the same time it allowed Indian players to adapt to different conditions.
A celebrity match, as a part of the centenary celebrations, will be held at the SPG shortly after Ganesh Chaturthion August 23. 

"Arjuna Ranatunga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Sanath Jayasuriya are among the Sri Lankan players who have confirmed their participation. Invitations have also being extended to Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli among others," Wadekar told.

"These Sri Lankan players can't say no to me. Sri Lanka is like a second home for me. I have a bond with them that stretches back to many years. It'll be a great game of cricket." 

Source : DNA India  

Jayasuriya Feels The Pinch As Runs Dry Up

Has the oldest swinger in town lost his mojo?

That's the leading question New Zealand's cricketers were dead batting as speculation mounts over the future of Sri Lanka's original master blaster, Sanath Jayasuriya.

Now on the wrong side of 40, Jayasuriya has been unable to get to double figures in three innings against New Zealand, his latest failure for Sri Lanka A on Sunday made back page headlines -- not the attention one of the island's sporting icons is accustomed to.

But there is no denying Jayasuriya, the man who pioneered the art of pinch-hitting at the 1996 World Cup, is entrenched in a form slump that threatens a dream of retiring on his own terms at the next edition of the tournament 15 years later.

In a potentially ominous sign, former test opener Upul Tharanga was added to a revamped Tri-Series squad of 16 last night, one of five personnel changes as Sri Lanka reassess after their Twenty20 series defeat.

Jayasuriya, who started a remarkable 435-match ODI career against Australia at the MCG on Boxing Day, 1989, managed only one and seven in last week's Twenty20s.

Mistimed pulls twice prompted his downfall as New Zealand astutely avoided bowling length balls likely to be crunched through point or extra cover -- two traditional Jayasuriya sweet spots.

Then, in the one-day practice match, he sparred another short ball to be caught at the wicket for two, another example where New Zealand's bowling plans had the desired result.

Ten runs in three knocks, and sadly for Jayasuriya these failures can no longer be considered an aberration.

Since he made his 28th ODI century against India at the ripe old age of 39 years and 212 days in January, Jayasuriya has scored 137 runs in sevens matches at 18.85 -- with a top score of 37.

His Twenty20 stats are equally discouraging for the man who has a mountainous 13,202 ODI runs in the bank.

Jayasuriya remains the format's most prolific scorer behind New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, although, he averages 15.62 over his last eight matches since scoring 81 at Trent Bridge against the West Indies in the ICC World Twenty20 in June.

McCullum witnessed Jayasuriya's recent woes at close range but was cautious when asked if a star of Sri Lanka's World Cup triumph in 1996 was on the wane.

"He is, but you never write him off do you? He's got so much experience, he's torn attacks apart over a number of years.

"We know what he's capable of so we just have to make sure we execute the plans that we've got and never give him a break if we've got him on the back foot," McCullum said.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori was also diplomatic.

"We understand a class player can always strike at any time and I suppose we're expecting him to come out of it pretty quickly.

"The thing with him is brings an all round package to the game," Vettori said, referring to Jayasuriya's darting left arm spin -- the provider of 316 ODI wickets.

Vettori said it was commonplace for cricketers to revisit happier times when going through a tough run of form.

And if Jayasuriya is the type to look back, he has plenty of highlights against New Zealand to lift his spirits.

He scored his maiden ODI hundred at New Zealand's expense, a scintillating 140 at Bloemfontein in 1994 at a strike rate of 97.90 -- a scoring clip that has remained a trademark of his career.

Four more tons were subsequently registered against New Zealand, most recently a typically brisk 111 at Napier in December 2006.

Source : NZ Hearald

Jayasuriya meets his Waterloo?

Under-fire batsman Sanath Jayasuriya will find out today whether he made the mistake of not throwing in the towel or had his right to live on borrowed time as Sri Lanka will most probably give him one last shot in the opening match of the Tri-Nations series at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo.

The veteran of 435 matches, 13,000 runs, 28 tons and 67 half centuries has not delivered a kill since he made a devastating 125 against India at the Asia Cup final in Karachi in June 2008 and now finds himself having to choose between settling a score with his critics or committing career-suicide.

None could be more worried about his presence in the team than his team-mates.

“We are looking forward to playing Sanath (Jayasuriya) as an opener. He is looking forward to it himself and we know he’s someone who can play and come back roaring”, said Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara.

Jayasuriya goes into today’s contest with nothing or very little for the New Zealanders to fear and his present mess has given the tourists something to cheer.

“We like to keep him (Jayasuriya) out of form. We know he is a class player who can always strike back”, said New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori.

But Jayasuriya apart, both Sri Lanka and New Zealand contend that what happened in the two Twenty-20 games will count for little in the 50-over game.

“If we try to dwell in the past and forget what’s going to happen tomorrow, then we are going the wrong way.  We have to look forward and one-day cricket gives us more overs and a lot of time”, said Sangakkara.

New Zealand after their new found edge over Sri Lanka with victories in the two Twenty-20 games admit they will have to play better cricket to beat their hosts.

“Fifty over cricket is different and we got a lot to do. No doubt we’ll take the good things that we had in the Twenty-20”, said Vettori.

India is the third team in the fray and the contestants will play for a digital trophy, the first of its kind in the world which can record the proceedings like a computer.

Source : Daily Mirror

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