India not an overrated side

The Indians, after having set high standards for themselves, were found wanting in the shock defeat against the hosts.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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The Indians, after having set high standards for themselves, were found wanting in the shock defeat against the hosts. The Sri Lankans had all the cylinders firing right from winning the toss. But then, does that mean that India are an overrated side? It's definitely not. It's true that India's mighty batting line up could not fetch a victory this time. The true strength of the team is evaluated in terms of the resilient nature of the side and how well they stage a come back from the jaws of defeat. Too many extras Indians bowlers were guilty of giving away too many no balls and wides. The 16 extra balls didn't do any good to their bowling analysis. Sometimes, even a great bowler ends up giving away runs despite bowling well. But bowling wides and no balls is entirely in the hands of the bowlers. Wides and no balls are the only indication of the apparent rustiness of a bowler. Zaheer seems to have not recovered fully from his injuries. He appeared almost short of limping in his last few overs. I would be surprised if Zaheer plays further in the tournament. Conditions helped Lankans The evening conditions helped the Sri Lankan medium pacers. Dambulla is no different from the typical sub-continent wickets, where the evening moisture and breeze aid the bowlers with swing and bounce. Zoysa and the evergreen Muralitharan turned the heat on the Indians all through the innings. Zoysa extracted disconcerting bounce from one end and Murali turned the ball at will from the other. I was greatly impressed by Ferveez Maharoof, who bowled with tremendous control in the death overs. Maharoof excelled under pressure with his variations coupled with accuracy. Well-structured partnership A cool-headed Sangakara, who is supposedly the brain behind the Sri Lankan batting, rallied the innings till the end. The partnership between Sangakara and Jayawardane was structured very well. The surprising change in the Indian batting order will call for some criticism. The decision, perhaps, was taken to make use of the flamboyant batting skills of the diminutive wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. Although not many would understand the rationale behind that decision, the team must have decided to experiment. With Parthiv not doing much the decision may have looked a bit silly, but had the youngster clicked, then Ganguly would been the champion. Indian team will now go back to the drawing board to iron out the flaws. Frankly, there is not much to panic. We have seen that the pattern of this Indian team is to suffer a jolt before they start settling scores. (PTI)