From the moment Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly were out rather cheaply, by their standards, it was going to be an uphill task for the rest of the batsmen. The most important thing that the Indian need to learn from the Sri Lankans is to have a positive approach. It can do no harm. Dravid and Azhar rebuilt the innings, using Dravid's temperament and Azhar's experience. Even Anil Kumble did his bit by scoring 16 (eight balls) with two boundaries. At this stage, the Indian should have realised that they didn't have a very competitive target and so that would mean bowling at their very best.
They started out very well. Getting Jayasuriya out first ball to very good bowling and field placement is very commendable. Not only that, in Prasad's second over, he got the consistant Aravinda de Silva, out caught behind by Saba Karim, though there was some talk about whether the ball had got stuck in the webbing between his finger and thumb of his glove. Nevertheless, the Indians should have seized the initiative and applied pressure from both ends. But yet again, that didn't work and the Indians were back in familiar territory: dire straits.
A splendid knock by Sri Lankan captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, of 131 not out led the Sri Lankans home by 6 wickets. Well supported by Marvan Attapatu and Lanka de Silva, who was making his debut, Ranatunga showed what experience is all about. The Sri Lankans have shown that they are a very professional side with experience and talent that has taken them to the summit of one-day cricket.
The next match that the Indians face is an extremely crucial encounter. If India lose, they are out of the finals. If Pakistan lose, they too are out of the finals. If Pakistan win, they are in the finals. If India win, they will also have to beat Bangladesh to reach the finals. Try to figure that out. For the sake of Indian cricket fans, I do hope that the Indians figure out something too.