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Senior Member Sensation
by Chuck (Senior Member)
Sep 17, 2009

It was a great batting display by the current oldest ODI batsmen on Saturday, which prompted me to write this article.

Not so long ago, against New Zealand, after a top-order failure and Sri Lanka were 5 for 69 and Samaraweera and Mathews recovered the innings with a massive partnership for the 6th wicket. Even though, Samaraweera built the innings with a quick-fire 104, Sri Lanka was only able to get to a dismal score of 216. This can be considered a great recovery as they were 69/5 after 25 overs and Samaraweera clearly was the match winner on the day.

However, when Jayasuriya started smashing all over the park on Saturday, it was a completely different story. Sri Lankan posted 70 odd within 10 overs and on course for a total around 350 until Kumar Dharmasena gave Sanath out. Well, this may have been debated around the world but I think it’s a poor decision, and he was under lot of pressure and he didn’t think much. One would’ve thought it must have been an ancient grudge Kumar had against Sanath was clearly settled at a crucial moment of breaking his own record as the oldest ODI centurion.

Reminds me of an Indoor ref, as he admittedly gave a stumping decision to the favor of fielding team - It was a super close game, and the stumping was nowhere close to be out but the fielders put pressure on the ref immensely and he automatically raised his hand. However, the final result was not affected by the decision and ref apologized to the batting team, who deserved the win.

Coming back to Sanath factor – Sri Lanka clearly ended up with a 300+ total mainly thanks to late fire by Kandambhi. However, what I’m trying to do here is to compare the impact of Sanath’s big innings to Sri Lankan team. Even after 15 years since he started bashing at top order, Sri Lanka still rely on him and it makes a huge difference if he started off well or not. Sri Lankan produced explosive top order attacks in form of Sanath/Dilshan or Mahela/Dilshan of late; Sanath the Senior Member makes a huge impact to the team mentality.

He’s been bowling quite a lot in the recent Compaq cup and grabbing wickets at crucial moments. 16300 runs and 319 wickets later Sanath still carries a huge burden of a country and he deserves due credits.

Finally, Sri Lanka was on course chasing India’s massive 319 at the Compaq Cup final. Sanath couldn’t capitalize this time and the team lost the momentum hence lost the game. It was so close, yet so far.
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