magic of the triple M
Finally it was a well executed programme. Now some may be wondering
if it was Moody who was the second best in the run for the Indian
plum as manager as right at the moment he stands very tall in every
sense of the word next to Greg Chapell where achievements are concerned.
Moody finished his first scene in the play with a series win against
the West Indies and a Triangular win in which Sri Lanka was pitted
seems that the magic of the triple M – Marvan, Mahela and
Moody has worked for the tiny islanders. They went through both
series – the Test and the ODI’s with only one loss and
dozing for a couple of months Sri Lanka started off the new season
with many hiccups and it was only their experience in ‘big
time’ that saw them pulling off the expected series win against
the West Indies who fielded a team which was very short of graduates
at the top.
the aftermath of the early hiccups and when the one day-series began,
the Lankans slowly but surely started firing their cylinders. Like
waving a magic wand, every gear they changed was a forward gear.
They were fearless in experimenting. They were also fearless in
resting their time-tested champions. This resulted in two great
achievements. The first being Farvees Maharoof coming of age with
a hint of developing into a true all rounder for the future and
the second being the rediscovery of Russell Arnold which indeed
is a huge sigh of relief for the Lankan middle order.
the run up to the final, the performance of the Lankan team depended
on individual brilliance. In most of the games two batsmen in the
middle got into top gear and pulled the side on to victories from
very tentative positions. In the only game in which only one bat
dug himself in, in Russell Arnold, Sri Lanka crashed to an unlikely
loss to the West Indies.
a post series TV commentary former illustrious Australian captain
Ian Chappell said a contribution of a coach can count only upto
5% in the overall performance and I am sure that the Sri Lankan
coach Tom Moody did contribute his 5% in the pre-match planning.
the very inception it was evident that the local team came out with
a game plan with adjustments for fall-back situations. It looked
a well-installed plan between captain Marvan Atapattu, Vice captain
Mahela Jayawardena and coach Tom Moody. May be the 10% luck worked,
Marvan won the toss and elected to bat. From experience they knew
the wicket would be very responsive to batting and would contribute
towards the paramount importance of having a healthy run rate.
Marvan and Sanath got off to a good enough start making their scoring
very brisk and on the fall of the first wicket brought in pinch
hitter Lokuhettige to chance his arms. This showed that they had
a preconceived game plan. Despite the early demise of both Lokuhettige
and Sangakkara the middle once again held together with vice captain
Mahela Jayawardena entering into a dazzling partnership with Russell
Arnold to see the home team onto 281. At the end of the innings
it was good to see three top order batsmen making half centuries.
It was also very encouraging to see Mahela Jayawardena and Arnold
coming up with repeat performances with their bats in the series.
the chase of making 5.62 runs per over, the Indian task was also
daunting. Adding to their woes opener Shewag was yet to come up
with an innings worth his reputation. In the two previous bouts
he was undone by newcomers Mahroof and Jayaprakashdharan for 11
and 32 respectively.
this time along with his co-opener and former skipper Ganguly, Shewag
strode in with a vengeance. He went at the Lankan new found seamers
in full spate. In a twenty-two ball Afridi type cameo, Shewag rattled
48 runs, but was yet again undone, but this time from the experience
and guile of Lankan champion Chaminda Vaas.
in spite of the loss of the openers both captain and Yuvraj Singh
seemed to be getting along unhindered. At this point many were querying
the wisdom of Atapattu being bent on stopping the boundaries and
not stopping the singles. But it was evident once Atapattu succeeded
in choking the boundaries and slowly but surely started cutting
out the ones and two’s through the clever shifting of his
spinners and setting of the field till he induced the batsmen who
were set on, to making mistakes. The trio of Murali, Chandana and
Dilshan rose to the occasion and understood the importance of sticking
to their guns.
was a scene reminiscent of the times of ‘captain cool’
strangling his opposition. Then from an imposing 186 for 2 the Indian
domino started collapsing. India who were well ahead of the required
run-rate at one point then started falling behind till it became
an impossible task to end at 263 for 9, but in real terms India
dominated the fray only during the Shewag onslaught and no sooner
he was checkmated the Lankan skipper put his fallback plan into
action.In a plan of this nature every member of the team has to
play his assigned role to the maximum of his ability and this showed
in the Lankan team. They went through the game as one unit and celebrated
after the win as one unit.