Whatever the niceties, the excitement and the big money that is tossed in, into the one-day game there is nothing to beat the atmosphere, the feeling and the joy that Test cricket brings.
DIFFERENT BALL GAME
The First Test which begins today at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium will be a different ball game. The Indians who were convincingly beaten in the Asia Cup final, will be determined to show that they are a different kettle of fish when it comes to the established game.
They have sent back Noel David and Saba Karim and rushed in the dashing Vinod Kambli, the controversial Rajesh Chauhan who has been given another lease of life after being cleared of a suspect action, Nayan Mongia who many rate as a better wicket-keeper and a promising opening batsman in Gajan Khoda.
How the Indians fare with their reinforcements will be interesting to watch.
. BIG RESPONSIBILITY
As for the Sri Lankans who are aiming to be the best Test playing nation by the year 2000, they have a big responsibility, and that is to carry their crushing form and success into the big league.
They have revamped their side and have brought in paceman Ravindra Pushpakumara, left-arm leg-spinner Jayantha Silva and it is heartening to note that they have given a player with immense talent Mahela Jayawardena a break.
We must say the selectors with Duleep Mendis at the helm who is also manager and cricket coach in the absence of Bruce Yardley have done well in slotting in Jayawardena.
. PROMISING YOUNGSTERS
Promising youngsters must be given their break. It is only then that others will be encouraged to perform and stay in the game, aware that their talents will not go unrecognised.
There are many other cricketers on the fringe of selection. We hope the selectors have taken note of them!
The selectors may come in for a bit of stick for persisting with Romesh Kaluwitharne as stumper/batsman. It must be accepted that Kaluwitharne is still young and has a lot to offer the game. When in form he is one of the most devastating batsmen in world cricket. He is also an agile wicket-keeper. But unfortunately he has struck the rapids and it is a pity that he cannot get his act together out in the middle.
Kaluwitharne need not feel despondent. Many world stars have gone through this nightmarish experience. Probably today's must be the game he is waiting to come good. We wish him well.
The Sri Lankans who are now with their tails up must strain and stretch every nerve and sinew to rub the Indians. They have the men and material to do this. They will not lack crowd support. What they need to do is to believe in themselves and then victory cannot evade them.
In Captain Cool Arjuna Ranatunga they have a fine leader. He will lead from the front and be an example as he has always been to his mates.
Cricket fans are also awaiting the return to batting form of the great Aravinda de Silva.
Once again the Lankan bowlers will be supported by some breathtaking fielding.
. MURALI'S CATCH
Incidentally, we do not grudge the awarding of the man-of-the-match award to Marvan Atapattu after the Pepsi Cup final. But the adjudicator would not have been faulted had he offered it to Muttiah Muralitheran for plucking that out-of-this-world catch that dismissed Azharuddin who was threatening to take the game away from the Sri Lankans.
Whilst also acknowledging the other catches taken as brilliant, the catch by Muralitheran was the one that turned the game Sri Lanka's way!