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Opposition tailenders: India's bowling woes

Opposition tailenders: India's bowling woes

Lower order batsmen of other teams continue to be India's Achilles heel.

New Delhi: The Sri Lankan crowd roars as Rangana Herath batting at number eight brings up his maiden half century.

Worse is to follow as Lasith Malinga not really known for his batting expertise scores his first ever first class fifty.

It was the umpteenth time that such an act was played out against the Indian bowling attack when the two Lankan tailenders put on 115 runs for the 8th wicket during the first cricket Test at Galle.

As India lick their wounds and try to come to terms with a comprehensive thrashing in the Galle Test, they might well contemplate about the opposition tail which has been a thorn in the flesh of Indian cricket over the years.

To say that Muttiah Muralitharan, who is making the headlines for reaching the 800 wickets mark in test matches started off his batting career against India would not be an exaggeration.

He smashed 67 runs of 65 balls which included five fours and three sixes and added 64 runs for the last wicket with Ruchira Perera in Kandy during the 2001 test series between the two nations. It is a different matter that Team India led by Saurav Ganguly went on to win the match comfortably but things could have been rather embarrassing for the Indians.

Polishing of the tail was an art perfected by the two Ws, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis who were clinical and ruthless for Pakistan when it came to rattling the lower order of top sides.

Raw pace is a great asset when it comes to numbers nine, ten and jack and that is what India have always lacked.

The absence of genuine fast bowlers has been hurting India for donkey’s years and is partly responsible for the lower order resistance by their opposition.

A couple of years ago the Indians probably had their best ever pace attack when they had Ishant Sharma, R.P. Singh and Sreesanth all bowling at over 140 kms at times. Along with Zaheer Khan they made for a really potent pace bowling attack that India could never boast of earlier.

Alas it was too good to last and now it’s back to square one with the fast bowlers losing pace and falling by the wayside. Injuries and a hectic playing schedule have also played their part and it is back to the drawing board for the fast men of Indian cricket.

first published:July 22, 2010, 17:21 IST