Archive for the ‘NZ in SL’ category

Sir Daniel Vettori

September 2, 2009

Sri Lanka won the toss, batted first and put up a 400 plus first innings score. They had 2 spinners in Murali and Herath and it was always going to be tough for the visitors.
McIntosh batted for good periods of time but big hundreds were the need of the hour.As usual, Taylor promised a lot but the three figure scores went missing. Guptill and McCullum have been big disappointments in these couple of tests. Flynn, Ryder and Oram displayed the commitment needed but this squad of players need to play more tests in the sub-continent in order to be more competitive.

Samaraweera looks in ominous form. I thought he was playing poorly for more than a couple of seasons and the selectors deserve some credit for retaining him.He’s a class act and has changed his mindset now. He values his wicket a lot more than what he used to and his levels of concentration have been really good. His footwork and determination have gone miles ahead.He was shot at by some cowards in Pakistan and had bullets in his body not too long ago and look at what he’s achieved now..Easily, the player of the series.
Mahela seemed to be as hungry as ever and was unlucky to get out in the 90s twice in the same match.

NZ needed 494 and with five wickets remaining on the last day, few would have expected any talk of a loss to Sri Lanka. Dan Vettori managed to create that.When he and O Brien were going strong, SL were desperate. Captain Sangakkara didnt look too relaxed. They had less than 100 runs to get with a strong ninth wicket partnership going. 397 runs on a 4th innings in Sri Lanka against Murali and Herath is an outstanding effort.

The contribution of Daniel Vettori to New Zealand cricket has been immense. He’s now part of the selection panel and rightly so. This is a brave move made by the New Zealand cricket authorities as this has some recipe for conflict but I’m sure Dan will do a brilliant job. It’s going to be difficult to deal with each and every player since hes both captain and selector. It’ll be interesting to hear from the players what sort of influence he has on them and the level of
discussion he does with his mates.

With more than due credit to his batting credentials, its a shame to the Kiwi batsmwn that he made such an incredible fourth innings century chasing 494, against the Lankan spinners in Lankan soil. Dangers that were posed by Thushara and Prasad arent to be ignored.
The Kiwi captain is a true great of the game and world cricket should always remain grateful to this gentleman cricketer.

I’m very impressed with this current squad and set up. They should persist with the same group. Australia are touring Kiwi land in about seven months from now and that promises to be a tight series. The batsmen need to convert the starts into big hundreds and they need a Bond back in the bowling department.

The Kiwi test team is on the rise. Remember the way in which Pakistan ( familiar with Lankan conditions and spinners) folded up recently.

Hail the captain, the selector, the frontline spinner and the batsman, Sir Daniel Vettori!!

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Day 3, Galle

August 21, 2009

It was an intriguing day of test match cricket at Galle. Muralitharan who went past Warnie yesterday for the record of most maiden overs in tests, bowled a spell of nearly thirty overs. That meant that the Kiwis were facing him at one end continuously for nearly two sessions on a rain curtailed day. And that marathon spell produced just three Kiwi wickets. So three Kiwi wickets from 36 Murali overs in Galle speaks volumes of New Zealand’s want of spending time in the middle.

  McIntosh played a brilliant knock. It was classic test match opening batting. He would have never faced this kind of music in his life. Saqlain Mushtaq seems to have helped a lot but in the end it’s the batsman’s temperament which is going to save him.When did we last watch so much of grit from a Kiwi opening batsman? Mark Richardson? Mathew Bell? 

 One opening slot well and truly belongs to McIntosh now. Guptill is good enough to seal the other. Jamie How and  Aaron Redmond are going to give him a good run. I’d like to see Guptill establish himself.

  Taylor played a fighting knock as well, although he had his share of luck. Theres no doubting his class. He belongs to the No. 4 league with Clarke, Pietersen, Jayawardene, and Yousuf. He was a little Rohit Sharma of New Zealand last year, struggling for consistency but he’s been playing good long knocks of late.

  The commentators at cricinfo were predicting a quick fire knock from Jesse Ryder but he too displayed commendable temperament, realizing the gravity of the situation. While McCullum missed out, Jakes was unlucky to be given out that way.

  Two hard days at the office coming up for the visitors

Looking forward to a Lankan batting collapse tomorrow at the hands of Dan and Jeets

The Kiwis in Galle

August 20, 2009

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

  1. Attack right from the start of an innings
  2. Counter attack when wickets fall at the other end
  3. 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.

  NZ  Bowling

 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.

  NZ Batting

  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.