Did we enjoy home advantage when we played India?

by Bro. Nimal Gurusinghe, FSC

As we all know, we lost the ODI series 4-1.

When we play in our country, we have to prepare pitches to suit our players. We have to take maximum advantage of playing on home soil. The opponents will not object unless they are unfit to play on. When we prepare a wicket, we ought to go through the strong and weak points of our team, and similarly we must gauge the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. If you analyse the Indian side, their batting line-up was far superior to Sri Lanka’s.

But the same cannot be said about their bowling attack. Definitely, Sri Lanka has a better bowling attack than India. So, if you prepare a good batting pitch, it is to India’s advantage. Therefore, we shouldn’t have given them good batting wickets.

The first ODI was played on a very good batting track and the Indians made use of the opportunity and scored 314 runs. Though Sri Lanka gave a good fight, it was a difficult score to chase and they lost the match by 21 runs.

The second ODI was played on a bowler friendly pitch, and Indians had no answer to our strong and accurate bowling attack. Their batmen were tamed by Sri Lanka’s bowlers, and we won the match with ease. When it came to the third ODI, once again it was a batsman friendly pitch. Though Sri Lanka scored 282 runs, India was able to chase this total, because they had so many star batsmen. They reached the target in style.

The fourth ODI was played on a very good batting wicket. Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first, but could not make use of the opportunity and managed to score only 251 runs. The target was a cakewalk for the Indians. Also our very poor fielding helped them to reach the target with ease. It was an off day for our players.

Schoolboys would have played better than our National players. Once in a way, it happens to any team. As a genuine cricket lover, I understand it. But on the whole, it was a very good batting wicket and the Indians made use of it, to the maximum. When it came to the last ODI, once again it was batsman friendly track. India won the toss and correctly decided to bat and made hay while the sun was shining by putting up 294 runs on the board. However, without Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene our players put up a gallant fight. But in the end, we lost by 20 runs.

If our curators knew the strengths and weaknesses of both sides, they should have prepared pitches to suit our team. All over the world, countries prepare pitches for the home team’s advantage. If the hosts had won the series 3-0, then preparing fifty fifty pitches for the remaining two matches would have been okay.

On the other hand, if our National team cannot win in our own country, can they when they tour?

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