Ever since Sri Lanka’s ODI tour of India was announced following the withdrawal of West Indies midway through their tour of India, lack of interest was seen in the clash. Fans lost interest because of the amount of the cricket both the teams played in the past six years and Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews and wicket-keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara were unhappy because of this hastily arranged tour. Sri Lanka had no cricket scheduled till mid November and the players were focussing on their fitness for the England ODIs that begin on November 26th.
Due to this hastily arranged tour, their preparations got disturbed and the result of the first two ODIs of the series is before us. It’s clear that Sri Lankan bowling attack is depleted without Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath and Suranga Lakmal but with due respect, Indian team is also depleted. Rohit Sharma hasn’t been selected for the first three ODIs just to give him time to get fit. Both MS Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been rested to freshen them up for the gruelling cricket that is to be played from December-March. Mohammed Shami, highest wicket-taker in ODIs 2014 was also ruled out due to injury. Inspite of missing four key players, the depleted Indian team has still emerged out on the top. They have performed as a unit and that has left the stand-in captain Virat Kohli with less things to worry about.
Umesh Yadav has bowled with some serious pace and has been well supported by Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Axar Patel has been very impressive in the two ODIs and has pushed his case well ahead for the World Cup 2015. The batters have also chipped in very well. Both the top and the middle-order has scored runs and going into the third ODI which is to be played tomorrow at Hyderabad, the Indian team will most likely seal the series.
On the other hand, Sri Lankan bowling has struggled a lot. They have failed to perform as a unit but there has been a bright spot for them. Lahiru Gamage has troubled the Indian batsmen a lot and he could well come in line for a place in the World Cup squad. The return of Nuwan Kulasekara will also bolster their bowling attack as it would allow Gamage to bowl more freely. Their batters have also looked very much rusty. Maybe its just a matter of time for Mahela Jayawardne, Kumar Sangakkara that they start to score big.
All in All, Sri Lanka would try to play their heart out tomorrow and show some competition if they are to make the series interesting till 16th November.
Probable Playing XI For India:
Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni
Probable Playing XI For Sri Lanka:
Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardne, Angelo Mathews, Ashan Priyanjan, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chathuranga de Silva,Seekukuge Prasanna, Lahiru Gamage
Image Courtesy: thehindu.com