India v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI- Sri Lanka Predicted XI

India v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI- Sri Lanka Predicted XI

Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera's return is expected to inject confidence in the team, which has underperformed in recent times.

Sri Lankan team
Sri Lankan team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

India and Sri Lanka recently locked horns in a 3-match Test series. Both teams fought tooth and nail, but it was India who emerged victorious by a margin of 1-0. The likes of Suranga Lakmal, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal dished out individual brilliance. However, they weren’t enough to evade a series defeat.

The focus now shifts to the One-Day International series between the Asian giants. Both the teams have had contrasting fortunes in the coloured clothing. Sri Lanka had a horrendous run against Pakistan and stumbled to a series whitewash. The Lankans will be looking to get their act right and give India a run for their money.

Mathews and Kusal Perera’s return is expected to inject confidence in the team, which has underperformed in recent times. In our article, we take an insight into Sri Lanka’s predicted XI on the eve of the first ODI at Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.

Openers (Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella)

The opening slot looks more or less settled for Sri Lanka with Upul Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella going great guns. Pitches in India are generally favourable for stroke-making during the initial power-play and there lies the opportunity for both the left-handers to cash in and gather some much important runs.

Tharanga showed excellent form in his erstwhile ODI series against Pakistan. Though Sri Lanka were steamrolled comprehensively, Tharanga managed to get the measure of the Pakistan attack with a couple of decent scores under his belt. Sri Lanka will be hoping for him to replicate the same form against India.

Dickwella has been a tad erratic in his previous games and was dismissed for some low scores against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. However, he can be useful on traditionally easy-going wickets for batsmen. Also, he played some decent hands in the Test series, which holds him in good stead ahead of the limited-overs fixtures.

Middle Order (Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Asela Gunaratne)

The middle order is crucial in the context of a game as they generally carry forward the good work by the openers. On several occasions, it has been exposed due to the lack of experience and has led to lacklustre performances by the team. However, Sri Lanka seem to have a pretty strong middle-order. With the likes of Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera in the ranks it looks well knit.

Thirimanne showed a tranquil temperament against Pakistan and notched a couple of half-centuries. Perera’s inclusion will also add solidity and depth to their batting.

Gunaratne played a short, yet match-winning hand against India in the Champions Trophy and had also shown decent form against Zimbabwe. On batting-friendly wickets, a cameo from Gunaratne might just give the necessary kick to the Lankan innings.

All-Rounders (Angelo Mathews, Thissara Perera (C), Sachith Pathirana)

Mathews’ returns to the ODI squad after an injury layoff and his addition will compute stability to the lineup. Apart from that, Sri Lanka will also be hoping for the all-rounder to chip in with some handy overs with the ball.

The lower-middle order generally bats during the dying stages of an innings and therefore it’s paramount for them to press the accelerator and propel the score. Sri Lanka have Perera lower down the order who possesses the skills to perturb oppositions with his power hitting. They will also be hoping for their skipper to deliver with the ball.

Sachith Pathirana is primarily a bowler who is no mug with the willow. On slow and low Indian decks, Pathirana’s left-arm spin might just come handy for the Lankans. Though he hasn’t done anything of major significance with the bat, his records in first-class cricket manifest the fact that he is a useful lower order batsman.

Bowlers (Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera)

India have a strong batting lineup and Sri Lankan bowlers will have to bowl out of their skins to get on top of the Indian batsmen. Nevertheless, they have the bowling resources going into the limited overs fixtures.  Rookie off-spinner Akila Dananjaya doesn’t have much of an experience of playing at the highest level. However, he previously has rattled the Indian batting lineup with a six-wicket haul at Palekelle.

Suranga Lakmal also has been impressive against India in the recently concluded Test series. Dushmantha Chameera bowled with pace and venom and dished out economical spells in a couple of ODIs against Pakistan. All in all the bowling department is an impressive lot on paper.