1st T20I: How Sri Lankan new-comers ripped through India’s solid line-up

Sri Lanka is at the cusp now. The side that is playing in India now and then travelling to Bangladesh has a little bit of a strange look to it.

Written by Jaideep Ghosh | Published:February 11, 2016 4:55 pm
Sri Lanka cricket player Dasun Shanaka celebrates during the first T20 match between India and Sri Lanka in Pune, India, Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) Sri Lanka cricket player Dasun Shanaka celebrates during the first T20 match between India and Sri Lanka in Pune, India, Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

By the time Rohit Sharma had figured out the bowler’s name at Pune on Tuesday, he was back in the dugout, the sweetness of his chewing gum intact.

By the time he had googled the fellow’s first name, Ajinkya Rahane was peering over his shoulder. By the time they traced the other two, Shikhar Dhawan was trudging back.

By the time the three of them had got their tongues around these names, the innings was over.

Kasun, Dasun and Dushmantha sound like names of characters from the seventh edition of Star Wars. But as of that day, they had the power with them, as India saw yellow on the green tinge of the Pune track.

Kasun Rajitha, Dasun Shanaka and Dushmantha Chameera, between them, have seven T20 internationals. They together have fewer years than Ashish Nehra and Yuvraj Singh.

They were unrated and unknown. Now we know them, don’t we?

Wasn’t quite a part of the plot, this whole business. After all, the Sri Lankans were supposed to come here and lose graciously, giving India much-needed ‘feel’ of the home conditions before the T20 World Cup began.

But the trio and the full of beans young captain, Dinesh Chandimal, was in no mood to go away into the darkness quietly. They were out to impress.

Sri Lanka is at the cusp now. The side that is playing in India now and then travelling to Bangladesh has a little bit of a strange look to it.

There are unknown names galore, but you still have a certain Tillekeratne Dilshan and Dilhara Fernando in the mix.

But Chandimal obviously thinks quite like Virat Kohli, so the oldies are largely warming the benches. So the young lads were let loose, and boy, did they impress?

Also out to impress were the Maharashtra Cricket Association lads.

There is a long and arduous season ahead, so to keep the pitches and square in any kind of shape, grass was needed to keep the soil tied up.

So naturally, there was a little bit of movement and quite a lot of bounce on the pitch. A little too much, if skipper Mahenrda Singh Dhoni is to be believed.

This green business is too much, isn’t it? We know where the Indians stand on that –Dhoni thought the conditions there were “English”.

But that is all old hat. We know where all of us stand.

The players want low and slow, with turn, so that we can overcome all opposition.

The International Cricket Council wants firm and true, so that there are runs galore.

The host broadcasters want money.

The BCCI does too. It also wants the Lodha Committee report to be scrapped.

So essentially, no one wants green. Unless Benjamin Franklin smiles from it.

What will be interesting to see now is what happens in Ranchi and Vizag, the venues for the next two games. One can almost sense the lemming-like scurrying around as the authorities around there run amok with lawnmowers, scissors and tweezers to extricate and remove every last blade of green. The Ranchi boys will toss those it in the nearest coal mine, while Vizag will consign them to the Bay of Bengal.

So we make sure that the green (pun intended) Sri Lankan attack is dulled and our boys recover splendidly to win, coming heroically from behind. That’s what champagne stuff is all about!

But that scissor-work is a double-edged weapon. One never know how the tracks will hold up during the World Cup.

“What a predicament!” as Travolta would say.

But let’s be honest, shall we? It doesn’t hurt to see the boys struggle and jump, duck and dive, once in a while, does it? Apart from the diabolical pleasure of seeing the spoilt brats getting it in the teeth, it also gives us hacks some ammo to fire.

It is all getting so boring otherwise, isn’t it?

Its a Waugh out there: This one is just too good to ignore. The ole Aussie boys are at war!

Steve Waugh and Shane Warne come from that era of Australian cricketers who we all marvelled at, not just for their on-field achievements, but also their antics. The ‘mental disintegration’ they specialised in was obviously a heady mix, so they were not loathe to inflict some on one another too, I guess.

So when Warney decides to tell all that Waugh was the ‘Most selfish” cricketer he had the ill fortune of playing with, it was party time! We in India are so denied all of this. Even when Sachin Tendulkar is left high and dry at 98 not out and Rahul Dravid declares, nothing happens! They go and complain to their individual media brigade and all the rest is hearsay.

So it was really cool to hear Warne’s opening salvo. Just too bad that Waugh didn’t react.

But have faith in the Australian media, ladies and gentlemen. This is not over, trust me.

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