Like politicians, players who develop big egos and with it big mouths develop a habit of placing their foot in it when caught in the act.
Tillakaratne Dilshan did it on Monday when urging Suraj Randiv in Sinhala with the comment “oney nam, no-ball ekak danna puluwan" (If you want, you can bowl a no ball) with the fourth delivery of the 35th over to the facing batsman Virender Sehwag.
What a great attitude to adopt towards a fellow player, urging him deliberately go against the spirit of the game and to deliver a no-ball, all designed to deny Sehwag his 13th ODI century after a particularly well structured innings which enabled India to secure a batting bonus point as well as a six-wickets victory.
A bemused Virender Sehwag helped India to a bonus point but has been denied a deserving century to celebrate India’s victory at Rangiri Stadium.
Suraj Randiv bowled a deliberate no-ball to prevent the explosive Indian batsman from finishing India’s second outing in the triangular series with a fancy flourish as they etched out a convincing six-wicket victory which wiped the confident, perky grins of off some Sri Lankan players and spectators faces.
With the scores tied at 170 after the first delivery of the 35th over went for byes, the single Sehwag wanted for that 13th century at ODI level was then denied the next two deliveries. But a cunning Randiv seems to know more about the laws and delivered a no-ball with the backfoot also close to the popping crease.
What’s going on here? Well you might ask. When the so-called head table at a launching of a major international tournament is bereft of senior administrators and represented by a board minion with a confusing title, understand the sniggering from the alert Indian media.
Too polite though to critise, but curious all the same that the arrival at the conference for some, left you wondering what had happened to showcasing the event. Missing were such “worthies” as Sri Lanka Cricket chairman D S de Silva, his so-called iron man Nishantha (I’m Mr Secretary) Ranatunga, and others among that non-elected coterie of ad-hoc government appointed officials known by the cute euphemism Interim Committee, along with the sponsors, were noted absentees.
Kumar Sangakkara had expected to lead Sri Lanka to a 2-0 series win over India in conditions that suited the home side. Why, there were confident whispers among some local writers before the start of play on Saturday that the epitaph tagline for the series was “India and Dhoni - Thanks for donating us another Trophy.”
Well now, if anything a media award for imagination should go to those local writers, print and websites, for taking on such a banner flying promotion. It is always a problem though, how in Tests the unexpected happens. It is why expecting the unexpected at Saravanamuttu Oval was predictable as India, wobbling at 62 for four by drinks in the first session on the last day they had defeat etched on the sign.
It was interesting tactics by Sangakkara. Here he was 200 runs ahead with Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, both early departures before the first drinks break and bowling to defensive fields, applying bowling tactics to try and slow the run rate as he knows too well how his bowling attack is under pressure. It is typical of a captain who also knows that apart from one bowler, Malinga, he has no one really to win matches.
And this is where the jingoistic claim for Sri Lanka to mount a challenge for No 1 Test ranking is as flawed as in their restructured bowling. And Mendis, gifted two wickets in the drawn fiasco at SSC last week to earn four, gave away 109 for his two wickets this time. This is the man that was suggested would be the new Muttiah Muralitharan.
As Tendulkar explained in the second Test, the Mendis factor no longer existed in current Sri Lanka conditions, certainly not with India's marauding batsmen prepared to take him on. He has wilted as such, but his six wickets at 46.83 explains just how much he has been tamed by batsmen the past two years.
While not quite death in the afternoon on this latest occasion, “slow strangulation” is perhaps, a more apt metaphor to describe what happened at the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club that ended last Friday. Test cricket, already in trouble, is in danger of losing serious public appeal if this disgrace is allowed to carry on unchecked.
As with most post-match conferences, there was a lot of reflection in Galle last week. A lot of bonhomie, backslapping and even tears from those you would not expect to shed them.
After all, it became quite a farewell celebration for Muttiah Muralitharan, so what is wrong with a little emotion, nothing at all. Just showing how some were feeling the departure a little more than were others.
Sport is like that: in the midst of it all, there is sadness, too. So many comments about greatness and any variety of adjectives being typed out, spoken and for Sri Lanka’s sporting icon like no other, still offering that cheeky grin you would get from a schoolboy who has teasingly hidden the key to the cupboard of sweets he has been hording.
Rare are the days when a Bradman record falls. Now Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene has joined Sunil Gavaksar to eclipse one of the Australian legend’s landmarks.
Executing a quality, stylish 28th Test century as Sri Lanka mounted a near impregnable first innings total of 642 for four, declared, Jayawardene’s innings of 174 is his tenth at the Singhalese Sports Club in the island nation’s capital.
Lasith Malinga’s explosive return to the Test scene against India has cast aside whatever doubts there have been about his future as a front-line new ball bowler for Sri Lanka.
His presence created an added dynamic dimension to the Kumar Sangakkara-led side and earned him man of the match award in the first Test here at Galle International. Both MS Dhoni and Sangakkara heaped praise on the fast bowler, with Dhoni calling his near one-man demolition in the India second innings along with his maiden Test half century a “an impressive performance”.
His five for 50 return in India’s second innings of 338 almost went unnoticed by the packed ground whose cynosure was focused on Muttiah Muralitharan. The smiling assassin had to wait until Pragyan Ojha edged a catch to Mahela Jayawardene, to claim the elusive 800th wicket in what is his role at this level.
Sri Lanka Cricket threw the gates open at Galle International Thursday to allow the public to celebrate with Muttiah Muralitharan his farewell Test and taking his 800th wicket at this level.
Even the country island’s president, Mahinda Rajapakse, turned up to have lunch and lend an executive touch of approval to the proceedings. He shook hands with players of both sides as well as match officials before heading back to Colombo.
Maiden Test centuries do not come more deserving than is this one from Sri Lanka’s opening batsman Tharanga Paranavithana against India.
It is understandable as well, why there will be celebrations in the team’s dressingroom and the left-hander’s home, as they watched his studious undefeated innings of 110 on the first day of the opening Test of the series at Galle International.
It is supposed to be the farewell to the Muttiah Muralitharan show. The end of an era and at the venue here in this southern coastal town of Sri Lanka where he has set a few Test records in the past.
From today, July 18, which just happens to be the 162nd anniversary of W. G. Grace’s birth and celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 92nd birthday, Muralitharan is hoping to end his career in his 133rd Test at this level, by taking the remaining eight wickets he needs to reach 800. This it is being touted is a record that no one can surpass, although he has nominated Harbhajan Singh as the one who might come closest.
It is almost two years since Sri Lanka unveiled their so-called ‘freak’ spinner, Ajantha Mendis to the world. At the time, most Asian media were as seduced and bewitched as were the Indian batsmen in that three-match series which Sri Lanka won 2-1.
Also those in the West Indies, if you recall, as it was where he made his international debut in a limited-overs series in the Caribbean, creating the origins of a myth. This was where commentators, a couple of veterans among them, were telling us Mendis was bowling a variety of spin “almost impossible to detect”.
With Muttiah Muralitharan announcing his retirement from Test cricket, we revisit columnist Trevor Chesterfield's match analysis of the first Test of the South Africa tour of Sri Lanka in 2006. Chesterfield highlights the all-too often overlooked side of that sensational SSC Test where Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara were involved in a world record partnership of 624 runs, yet it was Murali's 54th 10 wicket haul in a match dominated by batsmen which earned praise from Jayawardene.