On a hot and humid day, a pitch that can be best described as a batting paradise, Lankan batsmen made merry against help yourself bowling by the Indian team. The credit though has to go to Sanga, Paravitana and co. for making it count and getting hundreds.
The only chance India had was to win the toss and get a big score, alas! it was Lanka who won the toss and once they won the toss, it was more, or less a foregone conclusion that Lanka would get a big score. To get wickets upfront at SSC, any team needs disciplined bowlers, who can consistently hammer the good length spot with the odd ball fuller in length. Among visiting teams, I can only think of Kasper, Gough and Asif, who bowled well in Lanka in the last ten years. Kasper was a hugely underrated bowler and even the Aussies seem to hate him for his lack of penetration in Ashes 05, but in 04, he was a different bowler in Lanka as under hot and humid conditions, he did the hard yards by bowling long spells and got it to reverse swing. Gough was another bowler with a big heart and was a fine exponent of reverse swing. Asif is a quality bowler, though as far as I know, he got wickets in 06 at SSC, under overcast conditions.Unfortunately, India has a seam attack consisting of a greenhorn playing in his second test and another, who isn't bowling with good rhythm.
I just don't know the problem with the tall and lanky Sharma, but the simple fact is, he isn't bowling with good rhythm. Yes, one can point out to his release which can be worked upon, but the fact is, he isn't bowling with good rhythm. Mithun impressed me in his first spell, but seemed to be affected by the hot and humid conditions at SSC and lost his way. He seems to be a quick learner though, as he has worked hard on his delivery stride, but he can still get better with it. Two spinners were again disappointing with Harbie even looking to bowl wide of off stump! India could have gone for Mishra as he is a wrist spinner. Actually, my good friend and fellow blogger, Soulberry did say that Mishra should be picked. To make matters worse, Dhoni set defensive fields which can be seen by him having a deep point already in place after Lanka had got just about 20 runs on the board. The credit has to go to Lankan batsmen for getting big scores, but the opposition bowling was listless.
The SSC pitch is traditionally a batting beauty for the first couple of days, though it may help the spinners later on in the match. So, with the pitch being great for batting and the opposition bowling attack listless, I see the Lankan batsmen yet again sending India on a leather hunt tomorrow.