November 22, 2010

Sri Lanka Vs West Indies 1st Test Galle - SL Report Card

Mendis caused few problems to the Windies
© Associated Press
   The Islanders returning from a successful tour down-under undoubtedly go into a home series with high expectations. Rangana Herath misses out, Mendis making yet another come back which meant  Suraj Randiv continues as Sri Lanka's spin based attack now looking a lot humane. Batting nevertheless, full strength with home conditions to boost their level of confidence. A look at the Windies report card for the match over here.

Tharanga Paranavitana - 7
Played poorly in the first innings. Out after playing 53 balls for 10, second innnigs though he missed out on a well deserved century.

Tillakaratne Dilshan - 6
Out for a duck in the first innings to debutant Russell, looked lot better in the second innings with a hundred run stand for the opening wicket with Paranavitana.

Kumar Sangakkara - 6©
King Kumar had a quite game. Mainly due to watching Gayle take the game away in the first two days of play. His batting however, looked solid in the first innings. In the second innings  Roach did him in. Playing just two seamers in Thushara and Prasad, should have used more of Mathews as the third seamer and perhaps Dilshan to test of Gayle.

Mahela Jayawardene - 7
Twin fifties in the match. Made sure the game dint go out of hand at any point. Definitely needed to score big and bail out the team when it needed the most. But, the rain helped them out.

Thilan Samraweera - 6
Yet another fifty for Samaraweera in Sri Lanka. The man relishes playing under home conditions. That run-out seemed to be the only way he could have been dismissed. Unfortunately, dint help his team avoid the follow-on.

Angelo Mathews - 5
Did not get much to bowl watching the Gayle was going. Batting cant say much either. Was merely playing a waiting game, trying to get Sri Lanka out of the woods. Got out and the tail was left to fight out to avoid the follow-on.

Prasanna Jayawardene - 6
Sri Lanka's man for the job behind the wickets in test matches. He did well with the bat in the first innings helping the team reach 378 miserly close to avoiding the follow-on.

Suraj Randiv - 4.5
3 wickets to his name. Dismissed Chanderpaul when he was looking to settle in his game. Got the stick treatment from Gayle. With Mendis faring better, and Herath round the corner he will need to improve his performance given he plays.

Dammika Prasad - 3
The seamers lacked soul in their performance. Without Malinga, the seam attack looked spineless. However, Sri Lanka does have some names in Kulasekara and Fernando who will be in the running for the next test. Hopefully, perform better for the team in the absence of Malinga.

Ajantha Mendis - 7
At one point when all seemed to be one-way traffic. Mendis picked up wickets and brought Sri Lanka back into the game. Picked up 6 wickets in the Windies innings at an average of 28.17 perhaps light at the end of the tunnel for the islanders.

Thilan Thushara - 3
Nothing new to be said about his match performance. Went wicketless, could reap results for the team and his captain with the new ball or the old one.

   So, thanks to a merciless innings from Gayle, contributions from the rest of the Windies batting helped them post a huge first innings score of 580. In reply, Lankans missed the fact that none of their set batsmen were able to score big and bail them out. Missing the follow-on mark by 2 runs meant, Sammy asking them to bat again. With rain eating up some playing time the home team made sure the test had no ultimate winner.

   First test clearly heavy on the bowlers with 1199 runs being scored for the loss of 24 wickets in 340 overs bowled. Should be interesting to see how things move from Galle test to the Premadasa in Colombo for the second test.

November 21, 2010

Sri Lanka Vs West Indies 1st Test Galle - WI Report Card

All hail King Gayle!
   Sun, Sand, Sri Lanka.  The Calypso Kings playing the Emrald Islanders at home, some sparks sure to fly! Windies are perhaps one of the few teams that have performed well in Sri Lanka and that is mainly due to "Brian Charles Lara". Lara single-handedly dented the hopes of Murali few years back when most considered Murali to be in his prime.
   Pre-match the home team were expected to dominate play after a really good series down-under and lack of results for the Windies recently. Sri Lanka resting Slinga-Malinga ahead of the world cup'11 and the hectic cricket schedule. Murali has retired from test cricket, which meant the absence of these two would find an all new spine in the Lankan bowling attack. Windies under the captaincy of Sammy, ready to play for pride.

Chris Gayle - 9
Played 653 mins thats almost 11 hours of cricket in his knock of 333(half of 666 not a surprise). And not one minute in that the home crowd could complain. Runs were leaking from all corners. Played a perfect knock, in the series opener. He's not the captain but still a leader, the senior player the team looks up to. And he blasted his way, dominating the Lankan attack from ball 1. He deserved a  10 for his performance but, a minus 1 for he could have easily shattered Lara's 400 without breaking a  sweat.

Adrian Barath - 6
Gave a good start to the innings. 110 runs opening stand with Gayle. Played cool with Gayle going bezerk at the other end until he was done by Randiv.

Darren Bravo - 6
Signs of BCL, sadly only signs. Has the same style and bat lift like Lara but, needs to work a lot more to improve his game. Played well with Gayle, 196 runs stand. Windies taking the game away from the islanders.

Shiv Chanderpaul - 5
5 is as good as fail for the likes of Chandepaul. Had a start, spent lot of time at the crease and then threw it away. Will be looking to redeem himself in the next test.

Brendan Nash - 6
167 runs added for the 4th wicket. Nash provided further pain to the Lankans. Who had given up all hopes of dismissing Gayle.When Nash was finally out the Windies score was 559/4.

Dwayne Bravo - 4
Failed with the bat and ball. Gayle looking for 400 needed Bravo to stay at the other end. Unfortunately Mendis was just beginning to finish things.

Carlton Baugh - 4
Cant be blamed for Gayle missing his quadrple cos, Mendis removed him soon after Bravo was dismissed. Baugh replace Ramdin behind the stumps. Nothing really impressed.

Darren Sammy - 3©
First ball duck with the bat and wicketless with the ball. Let Sri Lanka easy from 295/7 to 367/8.

Andre Russell - 4
Started brilliantly, his maiden test wicket of just his second ball that to of Dilshan! And from there on went wicketless. Enough said.

Shane Shillingford - 6
Question marks against his action already, picked 4 wickets in the first innings but, mainly the tail-end of the Lankan innings. Helped enforce the follow-on they were looking for. Struggled against the top-order batsmen who can play spin very well. Left us asking for a lot more.

Kemar Roach - 6
Bowled with pace and lots of heart. Picked up 5 wickets in the match even in conditions not favouring pace and swing. Looked the best of the seamers, throughout the match.

November 18, 2010

Pakistan Vs South Africa 1st Test Dubai : SAF Report Card

Can anyone crack this nut?

   After crushing Zim without mercy and beating the Stanis in the T20s & ODIs, Proteas started favorites in the 2-match test series as well. Smith opting to go with 2 spinners in Botha and Harris along with Steyn, Morne in the pace department and Kallis to bowl his share(senior citizen quota). Clearly, Smith struggled with his 5th bowler options. But, it was the Proteas top-order that made merry in the first test against an unimpressive Pakistan bowling attack. Check how the Pakistanis fared in the match here.

Alviro Peterson - 6
Brilliant 150 run opening stand with Smith on day1. Set the mood for others coming in.

Graeme Smith - 7©
Started slowly, took his time at the crease. And by the time you knew it took the game away from the Stanis. As a captain dint use his bowling resources all that well. His decision to declare in the 2nd innings was to provide a result to the  test and it almost did go very wrong for him. Bold but the bowlers lacked the skills to take wickets on a  day 5 pitch. He may have used Kallis a bit more and perhaps Peterson's bowling just to test the Stanis.

Hashim Amla - 8
198 runs in the game. He's turning out to be the run-machine Proteas would have dreamed to replace Kallis at the no.3 slot. Runs in limited overs has helped his confidence overflow with aggression. Tendulkar, Ponting, Sehwag loyalists beware!

Jacques Kallis - 7.5
208 runs in the game. Played the Pakistani spinners with ease.Dominated the old-school style caution with aggression.

AB De Villiers - 4
Had a game to forget. Got out in the 1st innings when Gul, Rehman just pulled things back for Pakistan. Dint get to bat in the 2nd innings.

Ashwell Prince - 4
Had the same fate as that of De Villiers.

Mark Boucher - 5
Dint flourish with the bat. Was neat behind the stumps.

Johan Botha - 5
Got into the Pakistani middle order in the 1st innings getting 3 wickets. Failed to do so in the 2nd innnigs.

Paul Harris - 4.5
Picked up just 2 wickets in the game bowling 56 overs! But dint leak runs at a miserly rpo of 1.86 for the match. Ideally Smith would like the wickets column show some life.

Dale Steyn - 5.5
Bowled well but, could not finish the job for his captain. The Stanis played him very cautiously infact, in the Pakistani 2nd innings Misbah faced Steyn for 34 deliveries scoring zilch!

Morne Morkel - 6.5
Stuck to the task and earned a well deserved 5fer in the 1st innings. However, couldn't repeat the performance in the 2nd innings and Pakistan played it easy.

November 17, 2010

Pakistan Vs South Africa 1st Test Dubai : Pak Report Card

Younis along with captain Misbah and Azhar helped save the game for Pakistan

   Once again Pakistan playing a home series away from home. But, better than playing in England I'm guessing. So, the Mid-East serving up as home conditions. Not completely unfair I guess. The T20's were a one-sided affair. Saffers beating Stanis quite comfortably 2-0. The ODIs however were a  completely different tale altogether. Some really closely fought games but, Saffers clinching it in the end 3-2. Almost felt sorry for  Pakistan and then Haider mania caught the world napping. Lesser we speak on that the better. So time for the test matches and enter a new captain for Pakistan, come-back kid Misbah-ul-Haq. Also Taufeeq Umar, Younis Khan returning and Hafeez getting a test call after consistent performances in the LOIs. MoYo again unfit so left out of the side.

   For a team that's been in the news for all the wrong reasons and too many at that, to come and play good competitive cricket is a treat. We know how passionate the Stanis are when it comes to sports like hockey and cricket. From being in no-man's land to almost winning the test thanks to Graeme Smith, this test had it all.

Mohammed Hafeez - 6
A hundred run opening stand on come back with Taufeeq. Gritty 34 in the second innings as well. Looked solid with the bat. Misbah however, dint use him effectively with the ball.

Taufeeq Umar - 5.5
Good comeback.Struggled against pace of Steyn and Morkel. Was keen to fight it out there.

Azhar Ali - 6.5
50+ scores in both innings. Deserved a ton atleast. His innnings set the tone to the Pakistani fight back.

Younis Khan - 6.5
Spent valuable time at the crease on come back. Gritty ton in the second innings made sure any signs of collapse is averted. Could have taken the attack towards the end against the tired Proteas' attack. (-1)

Good knock in the second innings after a forgettable first innngs failure. Captaincy still very unimaginative. Having 7 wickets in hand should have put more pressure on the Proteas.

Umar Akmal - 4
Had a poor outing, out for just 4 in the first innings and dint get a chance in the second.

Adnan Akmal - 4
Another Akmal, another wicket keeper for Pakistan. Not very impressicve with the gloves or the bat. Got the job done on debut.

Adbur Rehman - 5
Got 4 wickets in the match from 68 overs a S.R. of 102 per wkt. Can do better.

Umar Gul - 5
3 wickets in the first innings and wicketless in the second. Struggled to make any in-roads for his captain being the strike bowler.

Wahab Riaz - 4
2 big wickets of Smith and Amla. Both looking good for long innings. Then got injured and increased the tension for Misbah.

Saeed Ajmal - 4
Bowled plenty of overs, just 3 wickets in the match. Din't trouble any of the top-order batsmen.