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Sri Lanka v India, 5th ODI: Sri Lanka Predicted XI

Sri Lanka enter the match to avoid the embarrassing whitewash in front of their home crowd.

Akila Dananjaya Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka will lock horns with India for one final time in this series and would love to finish on a high. The win would not only boost their confidence but also increase their chances of directly qualifying for 2019 World Cup. But for that to happen they will need to find the right combination to beat the team that is carrying amazing form.

Sri Lanka had their worst game in the last match. They never arrived at Colombo as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma made a mockery of their lacklustre bowling. They got the wickets after that but the damage had been already done.  The return of the regular skipper Upul Tharanga should bolster the confidence of the team.

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Though, the skipper has to lead from the front now and score big. The woes of the team are never ending as they have used almost every player in the lineup, yet have not returned to the winning ways. If the issues continue to haunt them on Sunday, India should easily clean slate them in one of the most one-sided series’ in the recent times. Here is the predicted XI for Sri Lanka for the 5th and final ODI of the series:

Openers (Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga)

Niroshan Dickwella is due a big one as the opener has failed miserably in the last couple of ODIs. The management continues to keep faith in him as he is one of the brightest talents in the country. Dickwella’s quick fire knock at the top would surely unsettle the Indian bowlers. But the left hander should not throw away his wicket as he has often done in this series.

Upul Tharanga, the skipper, should be back after serving a two-match ban. He will be back in his preferred position to open as Gunathilaka has failed to recover from his shoulder injury. The left hander though should get the runs now as he is under the immense pressure as well to perform. One more failure and he could be under threat of losing his place from the side.

Middle order (Kusal Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne)

Kusal Mendis has been finding ways to get out as the youngster ran himself out needlessly in the last game while chasing a mammoth total. Alike Dickwella, he too is due for a big score as the management continues to mentor him for the future. Mendis though needs to show some maturity now and convert the starts.

Lahiru Thirimanne has been hitting the ball really well since his return. He looked fluent in the last match as well following his half century in his come back game. He needs to anchor the innings throughout and try and break the jinx for his team. One good score with the bat could change the dynamics for Sri Lanka.

All-rounders (Angelo Mathews, Milinda Siriwardana, Wanidu Hasaranga)

The best player of the Sri Lanka for the last couple of years has returned to his best. Angelo Mathews looked threatening with the ball in the last match and compiled a calculative 70 run innings to come back in form. The most heartening thing for the fans must be his bowling.

When all the bowlers were being smothered all over the park, the former skipper returned with figures of 2/24 from 6 overs with 2 maidens. He also picked back to back wickets of Hardik Pandya and Rohit Sharma to keep his team afloat in the game. His prowess with the bat is known to everyone and just needs the support from the other end.

The left hander Milinda Siriwardana is another player who is enjoying a happy return to the side. He continued his good touch with the bat and stitched a 73 run stand with Mathews to consolidate the innings. But he needs to improve his bowling to justify the tag of an all-rounder. His tight overs in the middle and an odd wicket would be helpful for the hosts to keep a lid on India’s scoring.

Wanidu Hasaranga once again looked ordinary in the last game but should retain his place due to the limited sources Sri Lanka possess right now. The youngster needs to grab this opportunity and look to cement his place in the side. He had a sensational debut against Zimbabwe when he took a hat-trick but since has gone quite.

Bowlers (Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Malinda Pushpakumara, Vishwa Fernando)

The off-spinner, Akila Dananjaya has been a sensation in this series and is the biggest positive for Sri Lanka cricket. But he has to keep improving as he was picked easily by the best in the business and was belted for runs. Still, he was one of the only two bowlers who completed their quota of 10 overs. The skipper has faith in him and he has continued to trouble KL Rahul as he dismissed 3 times in as many matches in the fourth ODI.

The stand-in skipper for the last match, Lasith Malinga reached the landmark of 300 wickets in the last match but was taken for 82 runs. He only has 2 wickets to show for in this series. Even he knows he is much better than that and his return to form would automatically infuse energy in the change room. As Malinga is not sure about his future after the series, the bowler would love to give his best one final time in case he calls it a day post the One Day series.

The debutant of the last match, Malinda Pushpakumara was ordinary in the last match. But he deserves another chance to prove himself in the limited overs format. With a lot of right handers in the Indian line-up his wily left arm spin bowling. If he bowls to his potential with a little help from the pitch, things should look really good for Sri Lanka in terms of the positives out of the series.

Vishwa Fernando has been the find of the series for the hosts. He hasn’t taken any five-wicket haul in the series but has been probing with his line and length up front. He has dismissed the likes of Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan in the last few games. He only needs to improve his bowling at the death when the bowl becomes a little bit older. The left hander has an advantage of creating an angle across the right handers and could be in the side for long.

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