Cricket shocker

It has been a while since I wrote about cricket and the fans of the game among this blog’s readership (yes, both of them) may have felt that a post was long overdue. What prompts this one is a shocking result in which Sri Lanka has thoroughly defeated Australia in two consecutive Test matches played in Sri Lanka.

To understand why this is such a surprise, we need to understand that Australia is the number one ranked team in Test cricket, forging to the top with a powerful line up of strong batters and fast bowlers and aided by an aggressive win-at-all-costs attitude. Meanwhile Sri Lanka is ranked at lowly #7 out of the ten nations who play at this highest level and had just returned from a truly woeful tour of England where they failed to win even a single match in any of the three formats of the game. In addition to losing through retirement the services of their three top batters and having had a succession of injuries to their fast bowlers, they simply played badly. Their fielding was atrocious, their batting erratic, and the captaincy was uninspired. To cap it all, their running between the wickets was appalling with an extraordinary number of batters being run out, often attempting hopeless runs. Only their bowling showed any class.

While Australia has recently had a poor record playing on the South Asian subcontinent, partly due to the pitches they find there being slower than they are used to, this was against more powerful teams in India and Pakistan and I fully expected them to easily defeat Sri Lanka. So it was not surprising when on the first day of the first Test, the Sri Lankan batting collapsed once again for a measly 117 runs setting the stage for another humiliating defeat. But then in a stunning turnaround, they recovered and went on to beat the Australians.

I saw this as a fluke and fully expected the Australians to come charging back in the second Test and avenge that defeat. But to my surprise, Sri Lanka won this match even more easily, with the Australians seeming to be completely at sea against spin bowling.

I am not sure what is going on. Are the Australians really that bad at playing spin? Are the Sri Lankan spinners really that good? Among the Sri Lankan spin bowlers who did all the damage, only one of them Rangana Herath is a veteran with proven abilities. The other two Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan have little international experience and the latter just made his debut in this series. One factor in both wins is that the Sri Lankan fielding has definitely been much better than what was on display in England.

While Sri Lankans are undoubtedly overjoyed at this unexpected upturn in their fortunes, Australia must do a lot of soul-searching as to what has gone wrong so suddenly. The third and final Test match begins on Saturday, August 13 in Colombo and major changes in the team’s composition are being considered.


  1. blf says

    Sri Lanka is ranked at lowly #7 out of the ten nations who are allowed to play at this highest level


  2. drken says

    My introduction to cricket came when I moved to Jersey City, NJ a few years ago and saw cricket games played in the many parking lots near the waterfront (JC has a large South Asian population), so I decided to learn what exactly cricket is. I’m at the point that I can follow a game except for 2-3 times a match where I find myself asking “what just happened? Why is he out? I’m also not quite sure what all those numbers on the bottom of the screen are. I get the basic Points-Wickets but the rest are a mystery. My basic impression is that it’s no more boring than baseball and the 20 over format is probably one of the better ideas in cricket since somebody designed a bail than lights up when it’s knocked off. Seriously, 4 days to play one game?

    Also, I just turned the TV from the Olympics to Willow (because I have a cricket channel, apparently) and that very match is playing with Sri Lanka 3 wickets from victory. So, I guess I have you to thank for seeing that.

  3. Mano Singham says


    Welcome to my world! Actually Test cricket is played over five days, not four, and aficionados like me find it fascinating because it allows for dramatic reversals of fortune. The match you just saw between Sri Lanka and Australia was unusual in that it finished in just three days.

    Some purists (like me) find the 20 over format distasteful since it involves mostly swinging at the ball and lacks the grace and subtlety of the longer form. But there is no doubt that the short form is very popular.

  4. drken says

    Test cricket is why people say cricket was invented by the British to teach its empire the meaning of eternity. There’s a lot of grace and subtlety you can fit in waiting for eternity. I can see how 20 overs was invented to sell to TV (which probably just makes it worse for you), but to the curious viewer 4-5 days is a huge investment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *