One cannot call it complacency. But resting two of your main bowlers for a match that represents a lot more than an increase in the points table shows a lack of vision from the Sri Lankan team management. Lasith Malinga, one of their new-found hopes, was injured. His non-inclusion was mandatory. With their strike prowess already down, Lanka should have played their best bowlers in order to put some doubts in the Aussie camp.
Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas are no greenhorns. The Australian batsmen have encountered the duo in possibly every cricketing condition and themselves are no mystery to them. Why rest them? What did
There was a tremendous psychological advantage to be gained, had the Lankans pulled the rug from under the Aussie feet. Imagine the Indian team of 1983 upstaging the then mighty
The tale itself did not alter much from the original script. What really stood out was the positive Aussie attitude. No, I am never going to grow tired of repeating this. They are the only side who look at the power play as a period for grabbing wickets. With some very good fielding as backup to create pressure, the wickets go down in clusters and partnerships are never allowed to prosper.
Frankly speaking, there are no great shakes about this Australian bowling. But the discipline and never say die spirit gives it a bloated look. Ponting deserves all the credit for making the team believe that there is a wicket around the corner every time. The target was never going to challenge the strong batting lineup especially with the main strike bowlers cooling their heels.
Both sides are beset with similar problems. The openers have failed to get going and the skippers are not among the runs. Sides generally lift themselves when the men at the helm strike and sadly that has not been the case with Graeme Smith and Michael Vaughan. Australia run away from the rest of the sides because nine times out of ten their openers give the innings the impetus and sadly England and South Africa have been found wanting in this regard.
The team that bats first will have a definite advantage. It is a high pressure game, and the side chasing will have a lot to contend with. My instinct says the team that musters more during the power play will emerge victorious.