March 21: How many times has Sanath Jayasuriya hit centuries in back-to-back one-dayers'
Three times actually, so Rahul Dravid should be very, very afraid.
Indian fans can’t be blamed if their faces had lit up when the Lankan mauler limped off against Bangladesh today with a hamstring cramp, having already blasted 83 off 77 balls.
Those smiles will have evaporated when Jayasuriya came back to cream another 26 off just nine balls before hitting Abdul Razzaq to Habibul Bashar. His 109 off 87 balls, with seven fours and seven sixes, powered his team to 318 for four.
But may the pinch-hitter — inconsistent like any other of his tribe — have sacrificed at the altar of the law of averages his chances of pulling off another stunner on Friday'
The bad news is that only eight months ago, he had hit consecutive ODI tons against England and the Netherlands. The previous two times, he had done it in the same tournament.
In 2002-03, his 122 and 106 came in successive VB Series matches against Australia and England. In the 2004 Asia Cup, the teams to suffer were, yes, Bangladesh first (107) and India next (130).
What today’s game may have ensured is that India now must beat the Lankans. Dravid will be hoping Friday’s match isn’t rained off, for that will allow Bangladesh to beat Bermuda and qualify. But if India beats Lanka, Bangladesh’s net run rate is unlikely to pose a challenge in a three-way race, thanks to the mauling by Jayasuriya and Company today.
The day’s master blaster, though, was Imran Nazir, whose 160 off 121 lifted Pakistan to 349 against Zimbabwe.
The Indian fan will be more worried by the look of the Lankan scorecard. Mahela Jayawardene limps into some sort of form with a sedate 46, and that he survived three run-outs and a dropped catch might, ominously for Dravid, reflect his current relations with Lady Luck.
Dangerman Kumara Sangakkara and Young Turk Chamara Silva have both spanked quick fifties.
India’s conquerers Mashrafe Mortaza and Abdur Razzaq have none for 66 and one for 86 while Mohammed Rafique is relatively unscathed with one for 48.
Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Saqibul Hasan, the teen scourges of India’s bowlers on Saturday, had all gone with two others by the time the score was 42.
The bowlers the Blues will most fear on a lively Trinidadian wicket, Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga, had one and two wickets.
The familiar workings of the law of averages, of course, bringing a bunch of young pretenders crashing back to earth. Only if it would catch up on Friday with a balding assassin from across the Palk Strait.