Monthly Archives: August 2008

India wins maiden bilateral series in Lanka

After the Test series debacle, Dhoni’s men redeemed themselves by winning India’s maiden bilateral series in Sri Lanka by winning the fourth one dayer in Columbo. Meanwhile the fear of the duo of Mendis and Murali has all but disappeared.
The pundits had written the Indian ODI team off even before the series had got rolling. Largely due to the disappointing performance of the Indian batsmen against the duo of Mendis and Murali in the test series which India lost 2-1. But Dhoni’s men have gotten used to being the underdogs before the start of a series and yet emerging triumphs at the end of it. The ODI series down under early this year was one such example. But the side filled with young rising talent was a treat to watch in this series a they went from strength to strength and managed to pull off the series even with a match in hand. Even in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag both of whom had to pull out due to injuries, the Indian bench made up for their absence.
A victory in Sri Lanka is always sweet. The last bilateral series in Sri Lanka had India face an embarrassing defeat of 3-0 and confirmed the fact that taming the Sri Lankan lions in their own backyard is not such a frivolous task. But finally India succeeded in triumphing in an ODI series here and this success can be attributed to the team work and the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Right from calling the coin correctly, Dhoni has not set a foot wrong in this series. He led from the front especially in the last two matches in Colombo. But what is important to note is the way he motivated the team after the embarrassing loss in the first one dayer in Dambula. The Indian team was expected to lose this series badily as none of the batsmen had any experience whatsoever against the duo of Mendis and Murali and that too on spinner friendly tracks in Sri Lanka. But the young Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and even Badrinath applied themselves to the early swing of the experienced Vaas and against the guile of Mendis and Murali. They applied themselves, used their feet and were not scared of hopping down the pitch in order to counter the spin. During the test series it was just one batsman Sachin Tendulkar who had tried to get aggressive against the spin duo. But in the one day series it was all the batsmen who went aggressively against the Sri Lankan spinners and emerged triumphant at the end.
But the primary reason why the Indians have got the series in the bag has been the success of the Indian bowlers. The pace bowlers Zaheer and Praveen kumar have always picked up wickets with the new ball. Right from pitching the ball in the right areas to getting early break throughs, the Indian pacers have laid the foundation for Harbhajan to come and clean up the tail. Even the fifth bowler in the form of Yuvraj Singh has picked up wickets at regular intervals.
The series win against Sri Lanka would come as a huge sigh of relief for the thousands of the Indian fans who had given up after the test series. But this win will do wonders to the confidence of the Indian ODI team who has just started a fresh innings under the reign of Mahendra Singh Dhoni who has appeared to be calm and unperturbed even when faced with tremendous pressure. The Indian team can only get better from here and after the infusion of Sachin and Sehwag at the top of the order, this team will have the perfect mix of flamboyant aggressive youth and dependable experience.

Nadal the King in Beijing as well

Just a day before being crowned No. 1 in Men’s professional tennis, Rafael Nadal stamped his authority at the Beijing Olympics by clinching the gold beating Fernando Gonzales of Chile in what was a flawless performance by the Spaniard.

Nadal seeded 2 at the Beijing Olympics overcame the challenge of Gonzales by beating him in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 and 6-3. He had a stiff opponent in the form of Gonsales who notched up nine aces through the course of the game, but Nadals’s powerful forehands down the baseline were a treat to watch for the hundreds who had gathered to watch the finals match and Nadal didn’t disappoint any of them. It had been a great year for Nadal after he had begun at auspicious note by winning his favourite French Open beating Roger Federer in the final. But the shot in the arm came from the Wimbledon victory when Nadal went on to beat his swiss rival in a humdinger of a match stretching into 5 sets and two days. This was the first Wimbledon triumph for Nadal after having lost the last two consecutive finals in London to Roger Federer.

For more than two years, Nadal had been ranked two and was in hot pursuit of the Swiss prodigy. But this year had been a special one for Nadal as he won two major Grand slams on clay as well as grass. The Beijing triumph will surely sky rocket the confidence of the Spaniard for the Olympics comes only once every four years. And it is a special moment to be winning gold for your country. A feeling that transcends all other Grand Slam wins. The Olympics would also turn out to be a confidence booster for the Spaniard as he sets out to play the US Open starting in a few days time after the Beijing Olympics.

Tennis lovers who were waiting to see their dream Olympic final of Nadal vs Federer had their hopes dashed once Federer was knocked out of the tournament at the hands of James Blake of the United States of America. Federer had lost out on the number 1 ranking and this seems to have psychologically affected his performance at Beijing Though the swiss made up for it by winning the doubles gold at the Beijing Olympics.

As Rafael Nadal is set to take up the Number ranking in tennis after being second for a record time, this will be the dawn of a new chapter in tennis. The Federer Nadal rivalry is something that all tennis lovers have cherished over the years but it waits to be see whether Federer has it in him to bounce back at the US open this year. For now this has entirely been Nadals year as he has gone from strength to strength and his Olympics Gold medal win will surely set the ball rolling for the No. 1 ranked tennis player in the World.