This was a piece of advice Ian Chappell got from his grandfather – Nine times out of ten when you win the toss, bat first, and the tenth time, think and then bat. Dan Vettori won the toss and chose to field. He would argue the conditions were overcast. But if you do that in a country like Sri Lanka with two spinners in your eleven, it is a bad reflection of the confidence you have in your batsmen. All it takes is a session of getting your eye in and if you’re through to lunch with just a wicket or two down, you’re in for a big first innings score. Don’t tell me the rain diminished the spinners’ chances of success. This is Galle, not J’burg.
Martin got off to a dream start though Sangakkara gifted his wicket away. But not all of Mahela, Sangakkara, Samaraweera and Dilshan are going to have a bad day together, surely not in Galle. In the end, three of them made big scores.
To highlight the impact of Dilshan, Sri Lanka are using him like how Sehwag is used in India. There was the era of Atherton-Stewart, Hudson-Kirsten, Taylor-Langer, Mark Richardsons and the like. Today, there is at least one opener in teams around the world who are good at three things
- Attack right from the start of an innings
- Counter attack when wickets fall at the other end
- Always give the bowlers a chance.
Hayden, Sehwag, Gayle, Smith ( some would disagree with me) are the leaders in this category. Dilshan could join with more knocks like this.
Chris Martin – Gave cent percent right through the innings.Good pace and good lines. Deserves a pat on his back.
Vettori – Tight and probing as usual.
Jeetan Patel – Disappointed with the way Vettori handled him. There was a lot of weight on his shoulders even before the series started due to the sub-continental conditions they were going to play in. But in overcast conditions on the first morning of a test match with some sweat in the pitch, it’s a little difficult for his off spin to be dangerous. Mind you, Im not contradicting myself here. I did say spinners have a big chance for success here but not with so many overs on the first day. 2 spinners generally help only after say, day 2.
Jakes could have been used a lot more. Patel shouldn’t be disappointed with this effort. There are more favourable conditions coming up, atleast in Colombo.
O Brien – Lots of effort, needs more patience and experience on these conditions. Couldn’t do much when Dilshan was on high gear.
McIntosh showed a lot of grit till close of play. Daryl Harper produced a great decision when he was struck by Mendis. The ball was hitting the middle of middle but had pitched a little outside leg. This experience should serve the opener well in the years to come.
Martin Guptill’s favourite shot is the pull. He played it so well in Australia last summer, despatching quick bouncers into the stands. He played it well against India at home. But in Sri Lankan pitches, he has to be careful.Who on Earth doesn’t know that the pitches are a lot slower and the bounce is uneven. He mistimed quite a few balls and I saw a short ball hitting the toe end of his bat. The short ball brought about his dismissal in the end. ( Pulling early, inside edging and being bowled). Andy Moles needs to talk more to him, about dealing with the short stuff in these sort of pitches. The likes of Flynn need to play more spin in order to tighten their defenses.
Hope Taylor and Jesse have a good day.