Sri Lanka vs India 2017, 1st ODI – Sri Lanka’s Predicted XI
For Sri Lanka, almost everything is at stake in the upcoming five-match assignment against a mightily dominant Indian outfit.
The shocking series defeat to Zimbabwe at home has still not sunk in and within weeks of that, India whitewashed the side in the three-match Test series. If the Sri Lankans thought that it couldn’t get any worse for them, then they were gravely mistaken. In the form of India, Sri Lanka will be up against the most ruthless of ODI outfits around.
However, the hosts will seek some inspiration from their victory over the same side not so long ago in London during the ICC Champions Trophy. Chasing 322 to win, Sri Lanka, powered by a couple of fine batting displays, went on to chase the target comfortably and stun India.
In this series, Sri Lanka at least needs to win two games to secure an automatic qualification for the next World Cup. In case the side is drubbed 4-1 or whitewashed by India, then Sri Lanka would have to face some serious embarrassment, as playing the qualifiers would be the only choice.
With that in mind, the hosts would look to play their best XI, and below is the predicted XI for the first ODI.
- Danushka Gunathilaka:
The southpaw had a brilliant outing against the men in blue in their recent Champions Trophy game, as his knock of 76 provided the platform for the Sri Lankans to chase down a massive score. Known to be a fluent stroke maker, Danushka will look to make the most out of the first powerplay and provide Sri Lanka off to a solid start.
- Niroshan Dickwella (wk):
The Sri Lankan wicketkeeper played a couple of entertaining knocks in the Test series and was among the few positives for the hosts in an otherwise nightmare. Dickwella likes to be aggressive from the very offset, and his battle with the Indian Pacers will make up for an incredibly entertaining contest for sure.
- Kusal Mendis:
The most sound batsman in Sri Lanka right now, Kusal Mendis is an ocean full of batting talent. His ton in the second Test at Colombo was an example of his grit and elegance, as he battled it out amidst adversities. Not to forget, India will be wary of him, as he was the Man of the Match when the two teams met in the ICC Champions Trophy.
- Upul Tharanga (c):
The Sri Lanka captain is likely to relinquish his desired opening slot for the sake of Dickwella, and bat in the middle-order, where his stable approach is more needed. Tharanga enjoys a decent ODI record against India, and as captain, it will be his responsibility to see the side through in the critical phase of the middle overs.
- Dinesh Chandimal:
Chandimal is among the most experienced batsmen for Sri Lanka, and he desperately needs to make all of that count. With the likes of Sangakkara and Jayawardene long gone, Chandimal needs to be the guy who should step up and mount up to the responsibility when needed for the team’s cause.
- Angelo Matthews:
The former skipper might have faded in stature in the last couple of years, but his skills as a finisher are incredibly precious even today. Not to forget, it was his decisive half-century which sealed the game for Sri Lanka against India in the UK recently, and Matthews will look to repeat a similar feat at Dambulla as well.
- Thisara Perera:
Like Matthews and Chandimal, Perera now boost of some serious experience under his belt, having to be around for more nearly eight years now on the international cricket circuit. He has played some crucial knocks against India in the past and remains an asset for the Sri Lankans. However, he needs to be utilised well by Tharanga.
- Milinda Siriwardana:
Thanks to the injury to Asela Gunaratne, Siriwardana finds another opening into the Sri Lankan lineup. Given his all round skills and his handy batting, Siriwardana should ideally be a part of the lower order. His overs in the middle phase of the game could be crucial for his team.
- Akila Dananjaya:
The mystery off-spinner, who recently made a comeback into the Sri Lankan side took four wickets in the fifth ODI against Zimbabwe, and that should be enough for him to retain his place in the team. Against a team that has the best batsmen going around, Dananjaya has his task cut short ahead of him.
- Vishwa Fernando:
The left-arm pacer impressed quite a bit in the third Test at Kandy, picking up a few wickets. It is an ideal opportunity now for him to make a mark in the shorter format as well.
- Lasith Malinga:
The ever dynamic Lasith Malinga knows the precise strengths and weaknesses of this Indian side in and out, thanks to his stint in the IPL with the Mumbai Indians. His battle with his IPL skipper Rohit Sharma will be an interesting one to watch out for.
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