Sri Lanka and India are also playing cricket

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For those who don’t know what Sri Lanka v India is, it’s kind of like the Ashes, only they don’t make the losing team play a fifth Test. Or a fourth one.

Sri Lanka seem to have turned a little bit insipid. They coped with Muttiah Muralitharan’s retirement surprisingly well considering their entire gameplan hinged on him for a decade, but now some cracks are appearing. Mahela Jayawardene has gone and Kumar Sangakkara will follow him shortly, on top of which the surprisingly effective Rangana Herath appears to be becoming less effective just as his wickets were ceasing to be a surprise.

Last year Pakistan toured Sri Lanka. In two Tests Herath took 23 wickets. All that was missing was some boggle-eyed grinning and it would have been just like Murali was still around. This year Pakistan again toured Sri Lanka. Herath took two wickets in two Tests and was dropped for the third. That’s a pretty marked contrast.

Against India, Sri Lanka batted like divs to make 183, conceded 375 and now appear to be embarking on a second round of divdom. It isn’t glorious.

21 comments

  1. I have an Indian friend (who I only know online and through an alias – I believe that’s the best type of friend) who swears blind that Ravichandran Ashwin is the best spinner out there. I scoff repeatedly at this, Herath being one of my favourite counterexamples before Yasir Shah came along. This Test has so far been particularly annoying.

    Also, an opener who obviously doesn’t have the mental fortitude to play Test cricket scored a century, with is another thing wrong with this match.

    1. R Ashwin doesn’t immediately seem like he could possibly be the best spinner out there. Then you start thinking about the spinners who are actually out there.

    2. Dhawan is very, very good in subcontinent conditions. This is his third century in five tests in Asia. I wouldn’t say it’s so much of him not having the fortitude for Test cricket as it is that he never played in unfamiliar conditions until he hit Test level.

      Also, for a Test in the subcontinent, I’d take Ashwin over probably every spinner right now apart from maybe Yasir Shah. Which speaks more to Ajmal and Herath having disappeared than Ashwin having improved, but still. Outside the subcontinent I think I’d go with Lyon first. Again, not because Lyon’s all that great, but because Swann and Vettori are retired.

    3. For me with Dhawan, it’s that he was looking tired and losing concentration when he got out. Yes he was in for 250 balls or something like that; no, I couldn’t do that myself; but I’m not a Test opener. Unless you’ve got David Warner’s strike rate, being able to bat for a day seems to me like one of those things you should be able to do.

  2. I had completely forgotten that cricket is played in some parts of the world other than the UK and Australasia.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    1. He IS brill, but unfortunately he doesn’t do all that much any more so he’s not always eligible for what is, supposedly, a newsletter.

    2. I’m glad to hear that. Flimsy pretexts are what most of us come to the site for, surely. I myself mostly visit to see who’s managed to shoe-horn in the ankylosing spondylitis joke today.

    3. Balladeer goes off.

      As in, departs.

      He isn’t contaminated with mycotoxins or staphylococcus aureus or anything like that.

    1. Interesting philosophical question of the tree falling in the woods oeuvre. If a team bottom of the second division of the County Championship is docked points, does it have an impact?

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