SL v IND, 2nd ODI Preview: India looking to push the hosts into the doldrums

SL v IND, 2nd ODI Preview: India looking to push the hosts into the doldrums

Virat Kohli's troops are looking too good for Sri Lanka at the moment and are likely to win the second ODI.

Virat Kohli India
Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

The action shifts to Pallekele, which is a suburb of the city of Kandy but the series is expected to follow a familiar theme. India has been all over the hosts and the change of clothing hasn’t bothered them at all. They have come out, done their bit and walked off with a win in every game of the series so far. Sri Lanka are looking for answers but lack in quality to match with the might of Virat Kohli’s men.

Such has been the form of India, that even a change in personnel hasn’t really made an impact. The selectors took a big call when they rested R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and inducted wrist spinning options in the form of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal for this series. While the latter struggled a wee bit in the first ODI, the former is expected to get his chances very soon. The performances of India’s finger spinners in the ICC Champions Trophy has been an eye opener and India is desperately turning towards wrist spin to help them reclaim the World Cup which kicks off in 2019 in England.

Sri Lanka have problems aplenty and it wouldn’t be wise if they start looking at the World Cup already. They need to make short goals and recognize the right combination going forward. Their middle order, apart from Mathews, frittered the good start the top order provided them as they lost their last 9 wickets for 77 runs in 19 overs. They need to quickly learn from the mistakes and arrest the slide as quickly as possible.

Toss: India won the toss and elected to field

Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Niroshan Dickwella(w), Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga(c), Angelo Mathews, Chamara Kapugedera, Milinda Siriwardana, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera

India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Lokesh Rahul, MS Dhoni(w), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal

Upul Tharanga: “Looks a good wicket. First game we had a good start but we didn’t capitalize after that. We need to do the same thing (referring to Dhawan’s aggression). We have three changes. (Thisara Perera, Wanidu Hasaranga and Lakshan Sandakan sit out while Dushmantha Chameera, Akila Dananjaya and Milinda Siriwardana come in)”

Virat Kohli: “We will bowl first. During the Test, the wicket played slowish durinf the afternoon session and we’re playing in the afternoon. Whole idea is to get the best of batting conditions. It’s been nine years and 300 games for the country. It’s a huge honour. I try to give my best and today is not different. Dhawan is such an instinctive player. When his head is clear, the bowling or the pitch doesn’t matter. It was all up to Shikhar setting the platform and we playing the second fiddle. We are playing the same team. The experiment was about giving the guys different roles. We still have three games to go.”

Focus will be on:

KL Rahul

The Karnataka star has just 7 ODIs under his belt but the think-tank has recognized him to be a crucial cog in the wheels on the Indian batting in the limited overs version. Essentially considered as a Test specialist, Rahul has proved his credentials in the last 18 months as a white ball dasher. That he was picked ahead of the likes of Manish Pandey and Ajinkya Rahane is a testimony to his skill and gives an idea about how much the skipper backs him.

While he did not get an opportunity to bat in the first game, Rahul will have to prove his worth as a No. 4 during the course of the series. He has opened in all 7 ODIs so far but with Dhawan and Rohit doing well at the top, Rahul will have to bide time in the middle order, a role he has played perfectly for RCB on a few occasions. The right-hander needs runs with the bat as the competition in the middle order is absolutely fierce these days.

Lasith Malinga

Lasith Malinga was expected to bring experience in the ODI series after the forgettable Test series Sri Lanka bowlers had earlier. He received a pounding from Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli as the soon-to-be 34-year old went wicketless in 8 overs where he conceded 52 runs. Sri Lanka needs Malinga’s magic big time as their cricket has been falling apart in the last few months.

The right-arm bowler is not as quick as he used to be but can still be a force to reckon with, given that he hasn’t lost his accuracy. Being a senior cricketer, Malinga needs to take responsibility and lead the inexperienced bowling attack if he wants to stay in contention till the 2019 World Cup in England.

Playing combinations

India

Kohli’s men are looking very ruthless at the moment. They wouldn’t be looking to make too many changes in the playing XI for this game. Dhawan and Rohit will open the batting and the skipper, who has been in great form in white-ball cricket, will occupy the No. 3 position.

Rahul, Dhoni, and Jadhav form a little shaky middle order which needs to prove its worth together as batsmen. Hardik Pandya has given a fresh lease of life in the late middle order and a handy medium pacer with the ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah will be the frontline fast bowlers in the side. Axar Patel picked up a career best 3/34 in the last game and will hold on to his position for the Kandy ODI. Yuzvendra Chahal might be made to sit out for Kuldeep Yadav, who had an excellent series in the Caribbean.

Axar Patel picked up a career best 3/34 in the last game and will hold on to his position for the Kandy ODI. Yuzvendra Chahal also did no harm to his reputation breaking through for the team first up. In all likelihood, Team India will field the same combination that they opted for in the opening game, unless the wicket is a lot drier than Dambulla.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka won’t induce many changes in their playing XI as well. Their top order is expected to be the same with Dickwella and Gunathilaka opening the innings followed by Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga and Angelo Mathews at No. 3, 4 and 5. Kapugedara will hold on to his place at No. 6 but his chances are very limited unless he starts scoring runs. Thisara Perera also needs to step up and play a pivotal role with both bat and ball.

Lakshan Sandakan will be axed following an expensive spell the other day which might pave the way for the inclusion of Akila Dananjaya. Sri Lanka might be tempted to include Dushmantha Chameera instead of Vishwa Fernando. Malinga needs to step up as a senior pro.

StatAttack

2 – Number of wickets Lasith Malinga needs to complete 300 ODI wickets. He will be the fourth Sri Lankan to accomplish this feat.

56 – Runs required for MS Dhoni to overtake Azharuddin and become the fourth highest run getter in ODIs for India.