Of course, it is not like that they lost to an inferior team as Sri Lanka is slowly getting in to the groove and seems like the only team in this tournament who can really give a tough fight to the ever menacing Australian team. In Jayasuria Sri Lanka has a batsman capable of matching the audacity and power hitting of Matthew Hayden. Jayawardene leads the team with equal passion as does Ricky Ponting, Sangakkara is almost an equal match to Adam Gilchrist both with the bat and behind the wickets though he is full of grace and Gilchrist is full of power. Tilakaratne Dilshan may be considered as poor man's Andy Symonds. Chamara Silva made a late entry into the team like Mike Hussey and proved himself both in test and ODI cricket. The bowling combination of Malinga, Vaas, Fernando and Muralitharan is equally incisive as any of the Australian bowling combinations. Sri Lanka does definitely have a balanced team that is at least as good as Australia on paper. Added to that Jayasuria’s spin can be very productive like Brad Hogg's as it proved out to be in the match against West Indies. If the Lankans continue to play like they have been doing in this tournament they can give lot of headaches to Australia and who knows they may even beat Australia if at all they both meet in the finals of ICC World Cup 2007 at Bridgetown, Barbados on April 28th, 2007. Both South Africa and New Zealand should start their preparations right now if at all Sri Lanka comes in between them and the World Cup final spot.
Jayasuria with his classy knock of 115 of 101 balls and with a spell of 3 for 38 with the ball along with supreme athleticism on the field continued to amaze the onlookers of the game, especially those who defend Tendulkar saying that the age was a major factor in Sachin’s reflexes slowing down as a batsman. Jayasuria kept his striking power, quick reflexes including running between the wickets and the kind of productive batting he became famous for in 1996 World Cup. Jayasuria now scored his sixth one day hundred from 27 matches since he was cajoled by the selectors to come out of retirement from test cricket which he announced exactly one year back in 2006 and almost will add some more before he hangs up boots from both forms of the game. Compare that to Sachin Tendulkar’s last six hundreds which took him 65 matches since 2003/04.
Incidentally two of the greatest ODI cricketers of all-time both Jayasuriya and Tendulkar made their ODI debuts just 8 days apart. Tendulkar on Dec 18th Dec, 1989 against Pak at Gujranwala making a second ball duck, did not bowl and did not take any catches whereas Jayasuria made his debut against Australia at Melbourne on 26th Dec, 1989 and could make just 3 runs batting at no.5, took a catch to dismiss David Boon and did not get a chance to bowl. With a remarkable coincidence both Tendulkar and Jayasuria played their 384th game also separated by just 8 days.
Some of the statistical highlights of this match include the highest 3rd wicket partnership of 183 in World Cup history between Jayasuria and Jayawardene equaling the previous best which too was between his fellow countrymen Aravinda De Silva & Asanka Gurusinha against Kenya at Kandy in 1996 World Cup. Another interesting piece of Trivia of this match is Chaminda Vaas claiming a first stumping victim in the form of Brian Lara. I do not recall any other fast bowler of his pace having a stumping victim since wicket keepers started standing up to the wicket for fast bowlers especially on ODIs to avoid batsmen advancing the wicket. At least in the World Cup this is the first time occurrence.
Today’s 'Quiztion of the day' relates to the stumpings in World Cup games and has two parts. Here it goes:
1. Which bowler, keeper and batsman combination resulted in the first occasion of a stumping in World Cup?
2. Moin Khan with seven dismissals holds the record for most stumping victims by a wicket keeper in World Cup history. Name the batsman that holds the record for getting dismissed most times by stumping and the bowlers that share the record for getting most wickets by way of stumping?