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IND v SL, 1st ODI Preview: Upbeat India take on defiant Sri Lanka as new captains take over the reins for both sides

The Test matches may be over but the test isn't.

Indian Team
Indian Team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Test matches may be over but the test isn’t. The focus will now shift to the shorter formats of the game as India will take on Sri Lanka for three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty-20 Internationals (T20Is) straight. The encounters will be interesting ones to behold given that both teams will see a change in leadership as two new captains will appear at the helm of India and Sri Lanka. The first ODI is all set to take place at the breathtakingly beautiful HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala on December 10.

India have performed well in the Test series. Although they’d feel they had victory within their reach in both the Kolkata and New Delhi Tests, credit must be given to Sri Lanka for having put up a commendable fight to restrict the damages to a 1-0 series loss.

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Going into the ODI series, the Men in Blue will rejoice for the inclusion of the reliable MS Dhoni and the swashbuckling Hardik Pandya in the ranks but are sure to feel the absence of regular skipper, Virat Kohli. Rohit Sharma will be marshalling the troops in the upcoming games.

On the other hand, the Lankans have been going through a lot of turmoil regarding leadership roles in the team. A long string of 12 losses in the ODI games and conflict of opinions with the cricketing board of Sri Lanka, has prompted the change of hands of the limited-overs format captaincy from Upul Tharanga to Thisara Perera.

A relatively young team, with a few experienced players in their midst, Sri Lanka will look to shake off the recently acquired woes of incompetency in the shorter format and start the series on a positive note.

Toss: Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bowl first

Quotes from captains

Rohit Sharma: I would have batted anyway. Sun is shining and it looks a good pitch. It is a good toss to lose. We would have to come here and assess the conditions. There would be initial assistance for the fast bowlers. Play out the initial overs and see where the game goes from there. It is a rare honour. I am really honoured to be captain of Team India. It is a great responsibility. I am ready for it. It is a great challenge. I have a great set of players with me. I am hopeful we will able to do some good things today. I have a great set of players with me. I am hopeful we will able to do some good things today. We are playing with 6 batters, one all-rounder, two spinners and two seamers.

Thisara Perera: We want to bowl first. It looks like a good batting track. We want to chase. We want to do well. Some players are coming off an injury.

Playing XI:

India: Shikhar Dhawan(c), Rohit Sharma, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni(w), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella(w), Thisara Perera(c), Sachith Pathirana, Suranga Lakmal, Akila Dananjaya, Nuwan Pradeep

Playing Combinations

India

India will have at the disposal their premium limited-overs squad, one that has given them oodles of success in the recent past. There’ll be distinct demarcations from the Test squad we’ve been watching for the last couple of weeks in all departments. India will be tempted to go in with the 2 seamers-2 spinners bowling combination, along with a batting-heavy lineup to tilt the scales in their favourite. There are reports that Shikhar Dhawan is doubtful for the game as he was down with viral fever. Shreyas Iyer might get a chance in Dhawan’s absence.

Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan/Shreyas Iyer, Rohit Sharma (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Sri Lanka

The Lankan ODI unit will contain quite some recurring names from the Test squad and some new inclusions, too, Sachith Pathirana being one of them. Sri Lanka will be keen to have enough batting ammunition to be able to put up or chase down heavy targets, whichever they may be required to do, given Dharamsala is known to be a high-scoring ground.

Predicted XI: Thisara Perera (C), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Sachith Pathirana, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep.

Focus will be on:

Rohit Sharma (India)

Rohit Sharma sports a stupendous record as the skipper for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Whether or not he’ll be able to do the same while leading India will be an interesting thing to see. The prolific right-handed batsman has performed well in the Test series against Sri Lanka with 217 runs to his name. As one of the openers, it’ll be crucial for Sharma to get some runs under his belt if India are to embark on winning ways.

Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka have not had a field day in the ODI format since their last win in July this year. They’ve had to suffer 12 consecutive losses in the ODIs, including a particularly brutal 5-0 loss against Pakistan. Thisara Perera is not only a seasoned player but has also captained his side previously in the T20 matches against Pakistan when his predecessor, Tharanga opted out of the Lahore game. The onus will be on Perera to extract a win against the hosts and for that, he’ll have to contribute with his mind as a leader as well as with the willow in the middle.

StatAttack

1- Possible ODI ranking for India if they manage to win the 3-match ODI series by a 3-0 margin.

17- Number of runs MS Dhoni needs to complete 16,000 international runs.

67- Number of wickets for Siddharth Kaul in List A cricket in India since the start of 2013/14 season. Only Vinay Kumar (79) and Dhawal Kulkarni (71) have more wickets than Kaul.

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