Sri Lanka vs India: Sri Lanka's Predicted Playing XI for 1st ODI

Sri Lanka vs India: Sri Lanka’s Predicted Playing XI for 1st ODI

Many key Sri Lankan players are missing this series.

Sri Lankan cricketer Avishka FernandoPhoto by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) 

Sri Lanka will host India in the first ODI of the three-match series on Sunday (July 18) at the R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. With the visitors naming a ‘second-stringed’ squad for this tour, it’s a great opportunity for the Lankan Lions to get a major series win. However, their task won’t be easy by any means as this Indian team is studded with prodigies shining in the Indian Premier League.

Moreover, Sri Lanka haven’t done much lately and will even miss the services of many prominent players in this series. They are coming off a horrendous tour of England where they lost five of the six white-ball games. Notably, the home team has named yet another new captain for this series with Dasun Shanaka replacing injured Kusal Perera. Hence, Sri Lanka need nothing less than an exceptional effort to defeat this ‘second-stringed’ Indian team.

Here is Sri Lanka’s predicted XI for the first ODI against India

Openers: Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka

With the likes of Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, and Danushka Gunathilaka not available, Sri Lanka have to come up with a new opening combination. Avishka Fernando and Pathum Nissanka are most likely to occupy the two crucial spots. The former has done reasonably well in his short international career and would like to shine in this series. He even has two centuries in a career spanning 20 ODIs.

On the other hand, Pathum Nissanka, who made his international debut earlier this year, doesn’t have much to show in ODI cricket. His highest score is just 24 after playing nine games in the top order. Nevertheless, he has done well in the domestic circuit and the team management would want him to deliver against the Men in Blue.

Middle-Order and Wicket-Keeper: Bhanuka Rajapaksha, Minod Bhanuka

With Kusal Mendis not being the mix, Bhanuka Rajapaksha is all but likely to bat at number three. The 29-year-old is yet to play an ODI game but has done decently in his short T20I career spanning six matches. Rajapaksha likes to go after the bowlers from the outset and playing long knocks isn’t beyond his reach either. However, his character would be tested against a team like India.

As far as the wicketkeeper’s slot is concerned, Minod Bhanuka will serve behind the stumps. With only four international games, Bhanuka is yet to make a mark at the highest format. Nevertheless, he has been a prolific performer in the country’s domestic circuit. Hence, the team management must back him to put up a good show.

All-rounders: Wanindu Hasaranga, Dhananjaya de Silva/Ramesh Mendis, Dasun Shanaka

As if Sri Lanka’s team wasn’t depleted much, vice-captain Dhananjaya de Silva suffered an injury scare ahead of the opening game. De Silva has been a mainstay of Sri Lanka’s batting line-up lately and the home team would want him to get fit soon. In case, he warms the benches in the first ODI, Ramesh Mendis would come in his place.

Wanindu Hasaranga and skipper Dasun Shanaka are the other all-rounders in the line-up. The former would undoubtedly be critical to Sri Lanka’s winning chances as his recent performance has been brilliant. He picks up wickets regularly alongside playing handy knocks. Shanaka also has a point to prove not only in batting or bowling but in the leadership department as well.

Bowlers: Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya/Lakshan Sandakan, Dushmantha Chameera

Unlike their batting line-up, Sri Lanka’s bowling attack is somewhat imposing. Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera can clock good speeds and have even done well in national colours. The former also scalped a five-wicket haul in the recent England tour. Left-arm pacer Isuru Udana offers variety to the bowling attack. He can swing the ball and also has many variations to trouble batters.

It would be a toss-up between Akila Dananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan to select the specialist spinner in the team. Both these bowlers can turn the ball and being accurate isn’t a concern for them either. The former might get a nod ahead because of his experience.

Sri Lanka’s Predicted Playing XI against India: Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksha, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dhananjaya de Silva/ Ramesh Mendis, Dasun Shanaka (c), Minod Bhanuka (wk), Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya/Lakshan Sandakan, Dushmantha Chameera