Mohali, Dec 12: Still licking their wounds after the humiliation in Dharamsala, India will be aiming to roar back when they face a rejuvenated Sri Lanka in the do-or-die second One-day International (ODI) at the Punjab Cricket Association’s I.S. Bindra Stadium here on Wednesday.
The embarrassing seven-wicket loss in Sunday’s opener of the three-match rubber was not only an eye-opener for the Men-in-Blue, who are expected to face similar conditions when they land in South Africa later this month.
While Mohali may not be as cold as Dharamsala, the pacers could still have a say in the second match, considering it is another 11.30 a.m. start to the day-night affair.
In such a scenario, Rohit Sharma’s men will need to pull up their socks and learn from the mistakes of the first match, where the top order fell like ninepins.
It was once again the old war-horse Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who stood tall with a patient half century to lift the team’s total to 112 after being down 29/7.
Moreover, the exclusion of the experienced Ajinkya Rahane in the playing XI without regular skipper Virat Kohli, also raised questions on the team management’s strategy in the opening game.
India went in with a relatively inexperienced middle order, comprising debutant Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik, who failed to cash on the opportunity after the hosts lost the opening duo of Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan cheaply.
In the bowling department, the worry for India will be the performance of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who once again leaked runs when the hosts were defending a paltry score.
Considering Sri Lanka cantered to victory in 20.4 overs, the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav did not get to bowl and would be itching to get back into action after a month’s gap.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand will have a golden opportunity to seal the series after ending a 12-match losing streak on Sunday.
The visitors will, however, need to revisit their top order batting after opener Danushka Gunathilaka and one-drop Lahiru Thirimanne failed to click in the first match.
The Sri Lankans will take a lot of heart from the performance of their experienced all-rounder Angelo Mathews, who not only came good with the ball picking the crucial wicket of Dhawan but also guided the visitors home with an unbeaten 25.
The tourists will also be expecting another brilliant show from their bowling unit led by pacer Suranga Lakmal, who returned with figures of 4/13 along with Mathews and Nuwan Pradeep.
The spin combo of Akila Dananjaya and Sachith Pathirana, complimented the pacers beautifully despite getting little help from the pitch at Dharamsala.
India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Washington Sundar, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul.
Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (Captain), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Chaturanga de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushmantha Chameera, Sachith Pathirana, Kusal Perera.