It was another thriller alright but both, India and Sri Lanka will be kicking themselves for missing out on a win. In a way both sides did not deserve to win since both messed things up quite badly and allowed the other team to get back in the game. Both teams squandered chances to win and while a tie keeps Sri Lanka still in the hunt for a place in the knockouts, it makes it a little harder for India to experiment if they had won this game.
India of course has made it clear that they will follow a rotation policy for the first three players, Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir. It also means that whatever be their form, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma are not going to get dropped and that Manoj Tiwari, who got a century in the last match that he played will be only carrying the drinks throughout the tour.
If the likes of Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir, all proven performers are to be rested then it should also apply to the others and that includes the wicketkeeper too. It was good to see Irfan Pathan back in the team and though he has lost pace considerably, he still is a thinking bowler. He also has the knack of getting wickets even if it is not off a wicket taking delivery. He got rid of the dangerous Dilshan, and when Ashwin got Sangakkara out, India had a chance to put the screws on.
Dhoni earns India thrilling tie with Sri Lanka
Dinesh Chandimal is a fine prospect for Lanka. He has a good technique and he keeps still and plays very late. Sri Lanka also need to make better use of Angelo Mathews because if he gets more overs he has more chances of getting more runs on the board for his team. Mahela Jayawardene is without doubt a terrific skipper, the best after the canny Arjuna Ranatunga. It was his field placing and bowling changes that put India under pressure. Bringing his main weapon Malinga on when the Indians were looking to take charge was a master stroke, and as always Malinga makes it difficult to get runs off him in the final overs.
How Dhoni reached that widish delivery is a wonder alright but then the Indian skipper too is as good with the bat in the final overs, as Malinga is with the ball. What the other Lankan bowlers need to learn from him is that bowling a fuller length delivery is going to be less expensive than the knee high full tosses that they bowl in the final overs. It seems as if they haven't learnt a thing from the World Cup final, when Sangakkara strangely kept Murali away and gave the ball to Kulasekara, who bowled those knee high deliveries that Dhoni and Gambhir gleefully put away. Here it was Mathews, who bowled one to Pathan, who smacked it for a six and it was also called a no ball for height. That six reduced the margin and though Pathan was run-out in the same over it became easier for India.
Gambhir played another fine innings and missed out on a century again, but the more he shows the full face of the bat the better and solider he looks. Virat Kohli is still on a high after the Test century and that can happen where a batsman feels that all he has to do is to get to the crease and the runs will come by themselves. It happens to batsmen when they get to first class cricket after a Test century and it is happening to Kohli who is not observing the basics, playing across the line and getting out.
Dhoni bailed India out again, but with India now playing on a good bouncy pitch at Brisbane, he will have to think hard about what his batting line up should be.