What happened yesterday? It is still sinking in. Have we seen a performance of more ineptitude before? Last such performance that I can recall was Team India against Sri Lanka in 2000 in the Coca Cola Cup final. It has been a wound that has never healed for the Indians. Sri Lankans just applied a balm on it last night while inflicting the same wound on self.
On the same pitch Amla scored a brilliant century. On the same pitch Kallis batted like a king. On the same the pitch AbD smashed the Sri Lankan bowlers to all over the ground. And on the same pitch Sri Lankans were bowled out for 43.
And it was not that they were blown away by some brilliant bowling performance. How amazingly can you bowl on a pitch where the other side just put up a 300+ score? And every single bowler bowled the spell of his life?
On a pitch offering little resistance and in face of bowling that was aggressive and disciplined at best, the Sri Lankans lost their discipline, their technique and their collective heads. Tharanga flashed at a wide one. Dilshan couldn’t handle a short one. Sangakkara tried to cut one too close to the body. Chandimal survived three inside edges before perishing to the fourth one. Mathews again couldn’t keep a short one down and then Mahela of all people slashed a short and wide one straight to point of all places that he could have played it.
If it wasn’t for Kulasekara it could have been more humiliating. They could have broken the record they had helped set by skittling out Zimbabwe for 35. At 13/6 that was very much on the cards. 19 runs were scored by Kulasekara. Remaining 10 batsmen put up 20 runs between them. Had this been Pakistan, Mazhar Majeed would have been interrogated by now.
But no, this was not a performance influenced by money. Perhaps by the lack of it? Sri Lankan Cricket Board has failed to pay the players their dues. Could that be playing on their minds? Or is Dilshan just not able to motivate the team to play under him? I wouldn’t rule the latter out.
Whatever be the reason it will be interesting to see how Sri Lanka bounce back from this. They are the World Cup finalists. They can do better. Much better. All they need is to think of the fans back home who leave everything and sit in from on TV to support them. They deserve better.