All eyes on Rohit Sharma
The Indian cricket team will aim to pick up the pieces after a disastrous performance in the last match and get their campaign back on track when they take on hosts Sri Lanka in the third ODI to be held here on Saturday.
After a couple of contrasting performances in the two matches at Hambantota, where Men in Blue first won comfortably by 21 runs before being soundly thrashed by nine wickets, the action moves to the familiar territory of Premadasa Stadium here.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not very fond of tinkering with his playing XIs but he now seriously needs to think about how many more chances Rohit Sharma deserves in order to prove that he is a regular match-winner like Virat Kohli or even fairly consistent on sub-continental tracks, like Suresh Raina.
The Mumbai batsman has scores of 1 and 0 in the first two matches where he was out in identical fashion, chasing a delivery away from his body to be played on. Rohit has scored a meagre 156 runs in his last 10 ODI innings.
He has been one of the few players in recent times who has had plenty of chances, but has failed to deliver on most of the occasions.
Rohit’s replacement ideally is Manoj Tiwary, who incidentally would like to forget that he has been benched for 14 consecutive matches despite being fit and available, after scoring his maiden ODI century.
This is a ‘record’ that the 26-year-old Tiwary certainly won’t find amusing. Ajinkya Rahane also deserves a chance but with Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli being automatic selections for the first three batting slots, the talented Mumbaikar won’t be an ideal choice in the middle-order, given his style of play.
The Premadasa strip is known to help the slower bowlers, but Pragyan Ojha’s neck injury which he sustained during Thursday’s training session would be a cause of worry for Dhoni.