Jayawardene will make it tough for rampant Gayle

Sourav Ganguly

India, Oct. 6 -- It should be a good contest between two teams which have come through the grind. It's amazing how a small island like Sri Lanka has produced quality cricketers. They have qualified for four World Cup finals since 2007, which speaks volumes of the players' class, and a lot of credit should be given to Jayawar-dene and Sangakkara. They have carried Sri Lankan cricket like big brothers in this period.

For the West Indies, are we seeing their revival on the international scene? After their golden era, they struggled for a long period but this side has class and quality in all departments. Whether they can maintain it, time will tell.

Sri Lanka start as favourites but in a 20-over contest it is difficult to say whether the favouri-tes will come out winners, especially if you have Chris Gayle as your opponent. He is the best T20 player in the world; on Friday, he showed why he is considered so.

Gayle now takes time to settle down, adapt to the conditions and nature of the pitch. He has realised that if he hangs around and plays 30-odd scoring shots, he can win a game single-handedly.

If Gayle can be tamed early, the job will be half done. Sri Lanka and West Indies had this experience in the earlier match, where the West Indies could muster a small total after Gayle was gone.

Will spin be the way for Jayawardene or will it be the seamers? In the last match, Kulasekara did the trick. There is a school of thought that because Gayle plays from the crease, he may be susceptible to the moving ball. But the man who has a triple-hundred in Test cricket didn't get it by not moving around in the crease.

He has also learnt to adapt to sub-continent conditions by playing in T20 competitions in the region. But I think Mahela will not make things easy for Gayle and the big man will be tested.

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The writer is a former India skipper

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.