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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mooen Ali stands between Lanka and historic victory .. will they win - last hour of play

FIFA is on ……….. and from yesterday another annual show Wimbledon is also on… at the famous grass courts, the seven-time Wimbledon champion returned to make short work of his first round match against Italy's Paolo Lorenzo. Court One rose to applaud the entrance of Roger Federer, the greatest-ever champion of this hallowed event, and he did not disappoint any of them, except perhaps any Italians in the audience as he crushed Paolo Lorenzi 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in an hour and 33 minutes to clock up his 68th victory, including seven titles, in what is his 16th consecutive appearance at The Championships.  But some of us are busy watching Investec  - Investec is an international specialist banking and asset management group. It provides a range of financial products and services to a client base in three principal markets: the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia……… they are the sponsors for the England – Sri Lanka Test – which excruciatingly is heading for a historic finish… Lankans need the last wicket in the last hour of play with probably 15 overs left.

When Sreesanth was cleaned up by Greame Swann during the Oval test, it ended a miserable test series for the numero uno test side. Indians in their last tour were  annihilated 4-0 and they lost their no.1 test ranking as well as a lot of pride of being the world champions. The same year, India toured Australia and history repeated itself very quickly. Three years later, team India is in England again, this time to play a five test series. Only Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ishant Sharma and Gautam Gambhir are the three surviving members of the horrors of 2011. The remaining 15 will be playing test cricket in England for the first time.  India plays five tests against England after almost five decades. Their recent overseas tours have resulted in 10 defeats in 12 tests.

This may well be India’s best chance to create an impact in England. England are in a stage of rebuilt after their 5-0 disaster in the Ashes against Australia. And will Lanka create history … and will that impact or put more pressure on India ……. Is not the Lankan attack far better one …

At Lords in the 1st Test  the finish was as dramatic as one could imagine -  after the penultimate ball of the match, and Stuart Broad in full flow, England's fielders converged in jubilation, convinced they had completed a footslogging victory with seconds to spare. Sri Lanka's last man, Nuwan Pradeep, might be a batting novice, but he knows how to signal for a DRS review. Replays revealed a thick edge, missed by the umpire Paul Reiffel. He debuted at Lords Two wickets to the good and with his confidence soaring in the present test, this man delivered the first "doosra" of his international career. Not just the first doosra of his career, but perhaps the first bowled by an England bowler in Tests and that man is unexpectedly standing a rock between Lankans and the win… yesterday chasing 350, England were staring at defeat with 57/5 .. they have survived till now.

Sri Lanka have never won a Test series in England, but they are closing in on a magnificent achievement after their captain, Angelo Mathews, with a brilliant domineering hundred, followed by a scarcely credible spell from Dhammika Prasad consigned England to a day of untold gloom in the second Test at Headingley.  The man stonewalling is - Moeen Ali,  who has now scored a maiden Test fifty. When tea arrived on the final day, Sri Lanka were still three wickets away from their first series win in England but by chipping out Joe Root and Matt Prior.

I am impatiently closing this one at 22:39 hrs – hoping that Lankans will be able to win

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

24th June 2014.

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