“Must Be Ruthless!” Is Rhetoric. Being Ruthless Through Actions Is What’s Needed. Ask Arjuna !
Posted on February 14th, 2012

Top Spin By Suni

February 11th 2012“But I think the fielding got us into the game,” Mahela Jayawardena Sri Lankan skipper has said . “The run-outs and the way we stopped at least 20-25 runs on the field, on a hot day, on a bigger ground as well. We didn’t give them any easy twos. Only the last few fumbles. That’s the thing. Make or break situations. We have got to be ruthless.” All in a days rhetoric Mahela but the fact of the matter is your team did not win convincingly enough! Ask Arjuna Ranatunga! He will in all probabilities agree that to think in terms of being ruthless does not translate to being ruthless by way of actions tangibly to win, where in his day he proved how to be ruthless and apply pressure to the jugular with results. It was a bittersweet night for Sri Lanka as a result of many lapses by the Lankans mingled with flashes of brilliance yet consequently heartbreaking once again for the team and Lankan fans watching intently around the globe.

 It was a good toss to win obviously despite Upul Tharanga’s impatience to chase outside the off stump and get the gentlest of touches where winning the toss was needlessly squandered by irresponsible batting by all but Dinesh Chandimal the rising new star on the horizon who did throw away a brilliant innings in going for a suicidal run when he could have coasted to his century had he been more judicious and patient. Kumar Sangakkara looked set for a sublime innings until he went the aerial route and exited by way of what at street level is commonly known as a ‘Cow Shot!” and that from the rated best batsman in the world today albeit not undermining the glorious uncertainties of cricket as applied even to an intellectually brilliant batsman.

 As usual Dilshan was his usual brash self and the furthest from being an opening bat, out to lay a good foundation for his team. He needs to come to terms with the reality that he is neither a Sanath Jayasuriya nor a Romesh Kaluwitharne and perhaps bat lower down the order. Mahela Jayawardena after a bit of uncertainty, settled down, flattered a bit, crept close to that all evasive fifty on this tour and succumbed to a scorcher playing back and beaten neck and crop to start the long walk back to the dressing room.

 What looked like the makings of a daunting total for India to chase at 168 for 3 after 35 overs with the batting powerplay at hand turned out to be delusive as the Lankans only mustered 236 for 9 where at one stage even 270 was a distinct possibility with Thisara Perera and his blazing bat in the side but not his day and out cheaply where India by this time must have fancied their chances for another win despite a bit of nominal wagging by the Lankan tail.

 Another tale of sorry irresponsibility and needless runouts in the batting department and a few fielding and bowling lapses including a dropped sitter by Sangakkara where the game could have been won rather than tied but now there are five ganes to play and at least four to win if a berth in the final is even remotely possible and surely a tough ask.

 Curiously enough the three games Sri Lanka have played thus far have all been close and could have gone either way but distinctly Sri Lanka’s for the taking if the real pressure Mahela was refering to might have been applied. It was not!! Although he has been an assertive captain making judicious decisions beyond the shadow of a doubt, the team effort towards the ruthless kill once again was visibly lacking and lapses like the ones shown by Sri Lanka today, comes with a price!

 India on the other hand went about their task relentlessly where India’s version of “Captain Cool” Mahendra Singh Dhoni piloted his men to the end without conceding the loss helped of course with a bit of indecision by the Lankans at times, some nippy Indian bowling, fine ground fielding which both teams attested to equitably despite a few bad patches, the remarkable knocks by Gautham Gambhir unlucky to miss out on a ton and of course Dhoni’s unflappable demeanour with his charge once again forceful and assertive.Neither the presence of the Little Master nor the absence of crackerjack Shewag had any bearing on today’s game for India where youth and experience was craftility manipulated by an ever resilient Dhoni who managed to streak through this one!

 When Mahela Jayawardena says that ” I am quite happy, we are headed in the right direction, we are close, playing two top teams. Once we get that win we can get come momentum going. After making so many mistakes, I should be happy, but at the same time the way we are making mistakes we need to be a bit more focussed. And try and be ruthless in finishing games off. That’s what you expect, especially with these two teams.” in his somewhat garbled evaluation in a post game interview his aspertions are probably right where fortunes have evaded him and the brilliance of Lasith Malinga and Dinesh Chandimal who almost wrested this game from the Indians are yet to be rewarded.

Playing Australia on Friday will probably be the most challenging for the Sri Lankans with rumours of Bret Lee’s inclusion and the captaincy switch to Ricky Ponting!

6 Responses to ““Must Be Ruthless!” Is Rhetoric. Being Ruthless Through Actions Is What’s Needed. Ask Arjuna !”

  1. Sirih Says:

    Angelo gave the game away on 49th over with full tosses.. I think Thrimanna (Sp?) is still a better choice than Perera and about time some one read the riot act to Dilshan since his pathetic play is bad for the moral and have bad influence on youngsters.. Dinesh is a rising star and possibly a future captain.
    Todays Aust papers having a go at umpires saying Indians had 1 ball missing on last over.
    The biggest crook SL had ( remember Oil hedge fiasco) now running the selection committee and he is already in here… What is he doing here?

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Angelo is a very talented player but his body language and bowling showed he was deliberately letting victory slip in the last match. Dilshan was rebelious which is not acceptable. At times Mahela had to repeatedly call him. But his fielding was brilliant. Dinesh must be the next captain not Angelo.

    But Upul Tharanga is the biggest disgrace. He has totally failed right at the top order. Drop Tharanga or drop the series.

  3. cassandra Says:

    How wonderful it is to be an armchair cricketer – watching the game from the comfort of the stands or at home on TV? But we can be unjustifiably harsh on the SL team with our views based on judgments made from such ‘safe distance’. There is a huge difference between watching the game and analysing the play – however, technically correct our analysis of the game might be – and actually playing it on the ground. So, let us not be overly critical of the SL side and especially, of the captain.

    I watched on TV and/or listened to over radio, all three games that SL has played so far. And it seemed to me that all three games were there for SL’s taking – most certainly, the last two. Alas, it did not work that way. It is disappointing but we need to keep things in perspective and get a ‘move-on’.

    Looking back, it seems it was a mistake to ask Angelo to bowl the 49th over in Adelaide. Mahela is quoted as saying that he felt instinctively or intuitively that it was the right thing to do. And you cannot quarrel with Mahela’s decision, considering how well Angelo had done in Perth. Remember, in Perth he got rid of Tendulakar when he was on the cusp of a half century and in the next game Angelo dismissed the pesky Warner when the fellow was threatening to run riot. So, Angelo was very much the ‘go to’ player. Unfortunately, he disappointed in Adelaide but we need to be understanding.

    One radio commentator noted when Angelo was called on to bowl the penultimate over, that it was quite a while since he had last bowled (Angelo bowled only a few overs first and was then rested) and maybe Angelo was a bit stiff and not sufficiently ‘warmed up’. Maybe, Mahela overlooked this factor when he called on Angelo to bowl the penultimate over. But there is a lot on a captain’s plate these days. Among other things, he has to be conscious of the over rate, when the Power Plays are due and how he is to juggle his bowlers and his batsmen according to the developing situation. All this calls for a cool head and clear thinking.

    I think it is cruel to say Angelo’s “body language and bowling showed he was deliberately letting victory slip in the last match.” Interpreting “body language” is a subjective art and is far from scientific. I simply refuse to believe Angelo deliberately wished to throw the game away. The suggestion that he would do so is most unkind and utterly unjustified and unworthy of a player who has played so well for SL.

    I note that most commentators are agreed that Mahela is a good captain – his record attests to that, anyway – and is the right man for the job at the moment. He’s got the tough job of managing the SL team, with all the challenges that come in that role.

    Perhaps the one consistent failure in the side has been Tharanga. He has a grand total of 9 runs from three innings so far and he should not feel aggrieved if he is dropped from the next game. The team cannot afford to carry passengers. So early has Tharanga got out that Sangakkara has been a virtual opener.

    SL has a tough challenge ahead in the rest of the ODI series, and we must hope that SL finds a way to win enough games to secure a berth in the Finals.

    Clearly, there are many improvements that need to be made to the way the SL side has hitherto performed. But all that is not beyond the team’s capacity to achieve. And, let us remember, that this is a team of players who have not been paid for months! Considering that factor alone, we cannot but conclude that the team has done exceedingly well.

    So, let’s wish the team Good Luck for Friday and for the rest of the playing calendar. Our thoughts and best wishes will be with them as they continue with the remaining games.

  4. Muhammad FS Says:

    Upul Tharanga is a century maker. He should be kept. He will find form. He is not the only batsman failing.

    Angelo’s balling was poor in the last overs he balled. Lacked speed and accuracy. You can see he was not putting his 100%. He didn’t even warm up before balling. He gave enough room to hit sixes and fours. I could have hit a six to his balling. Perera on the other hand was trying hard but not good enough.

    Did you notice in the match SL made 236/9 and India made 236/9. SL made 12fours and 2 sixes. India made 12 fours and 2 sixes. Number of no balls, wides and extras are also same.

  5. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    There are other centurians in the shadows waiting for a berth.Tharanga had his chances although he fields quite adeptly.Thilan Samaraweera a definitely better option for inclusion.Maybe Sagakkara should open with Mahela and Dilshat should bat at No.5
    And if I may say so there could be a whole new inference of the spelling “balling” as opposed to “bowling” Mr. Muhammad and though it seems a Freudian Slip which has been repeated Angello was definitely not balling !!
    Yes indeed the tally of totals, balls bowled, boundaries and sixes as well as the sundries were identically the same. Uncanny and maybe a sign that Sri Lanka will have a change of fortunes!

  6. Dilrook Says:

    Today’s match may not go for a finish but Maharoof has already shown he deserves to be back. A good decision to include Maharoof and drop Tharanga.

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