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Talking points after the 3rd India vs Sri Lanka T20I

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Ravichandran_Ashwin_India_cricketIf you thought the decider was a dull ,one-sided contest, you were right but it was no less an eventful game. Although India had the game in the bag from ball one, there were some talking points that arose during the course of the game. Let's take a look at what stood out and commanded attention.

R Ashwin - If you ask me, should I talk about the game or should I talk about Ashwin, I'd go on and on about the latter, 'cause it was all Ashwin yesterday. He never shies away from a challenge and he was put to the test. Dhoni handed him the new ball, and this chap made everyone fall in love with him once again.

Ashwin rekindled his love for spin bowling as he picked up a flurry of wickets. Even though Sri Lanka were playing a depleted side, that display of spin bowling was, by any standards, remarkable. He derailed the island nation in his very first over with twin strikes to get rid off both openers, Dickwella and Dilshan. Ashwin was far from done, as he continued to astound the Lankans and leave them dumbfounded. If Ashwin were a book, Sri Lanka could not read. Not only did he help India reduce Sri Lanka to their lowest total ever in T20Is, he also finished with his best figures and the best by any Indian bowler in this format.

 

As Ashwin says, when a bowler wins you matches, more often than not it goes unnoticed but when a batsmen does, he is lifted up on high and made to sit in the heavens until his next lean patch. His definition of a bowler's hundred is a five-fer and when you do, it is hard for a man of his caliber to go unnoticed.

And that is exactly what he did in the 3rd T20I. He took the game by the scruff of the neck and made it his own. Within no time, he was the cynosure of all eyes and everyone sung praises of his heroics. If he continues this way with conditions benefiting spin, in all likelihood India have already bettered their chances for the coming World T20.

The Senanayake dismissal - When you are having a bad day at the office, even luck starts mocking you and revels in all the disappointment. In such circumstances, apart from battling the odds, you can only sit, put your head down in disgust, and wait for the storm to pass, hoping not much damage has been done.

Such was the case with Senanayake yesterday when he came on to bat. He was met with a howler of a decision, and his reaction although legitimate made for a more amusing cause. The time took by the umpire to take the decision and the time Senanayake spent huffing and puffing back to the shed was more or less the same. There was broad daylight between bat and ball. Maybe even Parthiv Patel or Temba Bavuma for that matter could sneak through such a glaring mistake.

Maybe Dhoni's appeal was a reassuring confirmation that turned the decision in Raina's favour or may be the umpire was simply in no mood to officiate during valentine's day. Raina's excitement to appeal was understandable but then Dhoni joined in and they appealed in unison, the umpire had a long hard thought and then after centuries, raised his finger. Not that much would have changed towards the outcome of the match but in this format it is more difficult to digest the if’s and buts as the format itself is known to be unpredictable. 

Sri Lanka have problems in the middle - To be precise, Lanka have problems in the middle order. Ever since the departure of Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara from the team, this unit has suffered immensely and at the top of their worries list is the largely underperfoming middle order.

In the ODI and T20 format, if recent performances are anything to go by, Lankans have only 4 fifty plus scores to show for, from which two are by their veteran skipper Angelo Mathews in their recent series vs the Kiwis. This recurrent issue has been hurting them bad and not only is it pricking them but it has led to a downfall.

Add to that, their openers too look unsettled and clueless. The pair of Dilshan and Gunathilaka have shown only glimpses of what they are fully capable of. Keeping in mind their four prongs in Herath, Kulasekara, Mathews and Malinga are nursing injuries, when they return, only Mathews forms a part of their batting remedies while the rest make a compelling case in the bowling department. Neither the lads with considerable experience nor the newbies have been able to leave behind a lasting impression to churn out a win. If this gap is not filled soon enough, the Asia Cup and the World T20 will be a mere sojourn for the Lions.



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