Disclaimer : This post was done in an extremely drunk state (the lack of spelling errors is completely thanks to the spell checker) and thus may contain factual errors.
Today is Happy Friday. I don't think I need to explain why a Friday should be named 'happy'. So, today is the Happy Friday and after making myself a delicious dinner I went a step further and made myself a Martini cocktail (with some Grey Goose Vodka and Olives) and sat down to watch the highlights of the first Test between Sri Lanka and England at Galle. Which is pure bliss.
You see, living in Japan is very bad news if you are a Test cricket fan and if the Test matches you are interested in happens to be in the subcontinent. Because that means you get to see live only the third session after coming home from work, and that is if you are lucky enough to be able to leave work at 6 p.m. I was indeed lucky enough to be able to do that, but still being the ultimate Test cricket fan that I am, being able to see only the third session live is just not enough. So, if I can't catch the live action, I must at least see the full highlights when I can, and what better to do on a 'Happy Friday' evening than to catch up with some Test cricket action (especially if it happens to be a match that Sri Lanka won) while sipping a perfect Martini.
So then let me get into the cricket a bit. And that inevitably means talking about a certain off-spinner though it's been a while since he decided to call it quits. Yes you guessed it right, I am talking about Murali the Great. A lot has been said about how we, Sri Lanka, was unable to be a force in Test cricket since the retirement of Murali, but in my opinion that is just stating the obvious. That man is without a shadow of a doubt is one of the greatest bowlers in the 130-ish year long history of Test cricket, and his absence won't go unnoticed even if he happened to be a member of Bradman's invincibles, the mighty Windies of the 70s or Steve Waugh's awesome Aussies of recent years. So what chance does Sri Lanka, merely an okay Test team, stand once he retire? Obviously we were going to suck at Test cricket for a while.
Which is why this victory makes so much more invaluable. While I am a great fan of Murali (and having had the privilege of seeing him doing great things even before he played for Sri Lanka) I still think it was the right decision for him to quit cricket, and that we must move forward without him. Great players come and go, but the game remains as great as ever, and we must face that reality. So, when Rangana Herath, a mere mortal compared to Murali, take 12 wickets in one match and win us a match it only made my happy, not just happy, but like more happy than to see Murali doing it. That sounds almost like a contradiction, but it's not. It's a given that Murali is a genius, but the point is that it's easy for a genius to win us a match than for a mere mortal. And that makes me happy because, well, cricket must move on even when the greats of the game says goodbye, and from the looks of it, it does. So getting back to the match, it was solid as steel performance from Herath, and it makes me even more happier that he was only a part of the whole story. It was more like a true team performance. In the first innings it was all about Mahela; when he scored his 100 it was brilliant, but his last 80 runs which he practically added with the last two wickets was stuff of the legend. I rate this innings by Mahela as one of his best along with his 100 at Lords, or his first 100 at Galle where nobody else got a fifty, or his fourth innings 100 versus Saffers where we chased down a mammoth 350 (which to date remains the 6th highest successful run chase ever in Test cricket (this, as I stated in the disclaimer at the start of the post, could be wrong) if I am not mistaken) where he was simply brilliant. And equally is important the sixty odd runs the other Jayawardene, namely Prasanna, added in the second innings. In truth, while Herath took 12 wickets in the match there is not a single performance you can single out as the most crucial. I think it's bollocks that people who give away Man of the Match awards think that they have to give them away to only one man per match. How can you decide between MJ's 180, PJ's 60 or Herath's 12 wickets? I can't. Maybe they should start giving away the 'Man of the Match' award to more than one players.
Anyway, (by now, I have completely forgotten the start of this post, so I'm going to conclude it the way I want without bothering to read it twice) what I wanted to say is that I'm so fucking happy that we are able to win Test matches without Murali. I love the man to bits, but still we need to move on, and what better way to do that than by winning Test matches, especially against the number one ranked Test team in the world though the said rankings are often meaningless.
Well done guys, I guess.