Sri Lanka have always had a good plan when playing at home, but it did have one slight flaw. Someone had to bowl at the other end.
If you’re a touring side batting in a Test in Sri Lanka, you effectively play two different matches. At one end, you counter the quick bowlers and the back-up spinner and probably acquit yourself quite well. At the other end you whimper and get out. No shame in that. That’s just facing Murali on his turf. The mistake you made was taking that single and changing ends.
Now though, there’s Ajantha Mendis, so when batting you now have a choice. Do you get out to Murali or do you get out to Mendis?
The Sri Lankan tactic was carried out to perfection last week. 600-6 when they batted and then India were out for 223 and 138. Murali took 5-84 and 6-26. Ajantha Mendis took 4-72 and 4-60. Chaminda Vaas got through ten overs in the entire match.
India, after hurting England last summer and then scaring Australia earlier this year seem to be deteriorating. Swanning around in the IPL like you’re entitled to one fat slice of everything in the entire world is asking for it though.
It all started when they hired a hubris coach for one-on-one sessions with each of the players. They should never have done that. What did they think would happen?