Evenly-matched contest between two inexperienced sides
Bulawayo: Jolted by the embarrassing loss to Zimbabwe in the lung-opener, India will hope to revive its campaign against Sri Lanka in the second match of the cricket tri-series here on Sunday.
It was hardly the start Suresh Raina would have hoped for on his debut as captain, as India lost by six wickets to the host with 10 balls to spare.
Missing the regular stars, India was given a rude shock by the Zimbabweans who chased down a rather stiff target of 285 with consummate ease.
The Indian bowlers let down the team but the batting was not too impressive either and had it not been for Rohit Sharma's breezy 114 and Ravindra Jadeja's 61 after a top-order collapse, getting 285 would have also been a difficult task.
“We need to work on our bowling and fielding departments to come back against Sri Lanka,” Raina said after the match.
Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay were always going to find it difficult to replicate the flying starts that India is so used to with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir at the top.
Bowling, a worry
The middle order looks all right with Raina, Rohit and Jadeja in good nick. The bowling is, however, a worry as the team found against Zimbabwe. Umesh Yadav and Ashok Dinda failed to take wickets and stem the run flow against the lowly side, while R. Vinay Kumar proved expensive. Raina minced no words in expressing his disappointment.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, has also fielded a young team and rested key players, prominent being regular skipper Sangakkara and the in-form Mahela Jayawardene.
Tillakaratne Dilshan is leading the side without having the services of senior players like Sanath Jayasuriya and Lasith Malinga. All-rounder Angelo Mathews is Dilshan's deputy on his maiden assignment as captain for an ODI series.
Muttiah Muralitharan, who was ruled out during the ICC World Twenty20 due to a groin injury, is also not in the side.
The new-look team features greenhorns like all-rounder Jeewan Mendis and left-handed batsman Lahiru Thirimanne.
Opener Upul Tharanga, middle-order batsman Chamara Silva and fast bowler Dilhara Fernando, who were ignored for the Twenty20 championship in West Indies, are the prominent names in the squad.
It seems an evenly-matched contest where two inexperienced sides face off but given the opening loss to Zimbabwe, India can hardly afford to relax.
After all, a tour meant to test India's bench strength could well become an embarrassment if the young side fails to rise to the occasion.
India (from): Suresh Raina (capt.), Virat Kohli, R. Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Amit Mishra, Naman Ojha, Pragyan Ojha, Pankaj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, R. Vinay Kumar and Umesh Yadav.
Sri Lanka (from): Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt.), Angelo Mathews, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Chamara Kapugedera, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara, Ajantha Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Dilhara Fernando, Chamara Silva and Thissira Perera. — PTI