Cricket

India will look to ride the momentum

Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews cannot afford another mediocre performance from his boys. Photo: K. R. Deepak

Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews cannot afford another mediocre performance from his boys. Photo: K. R. Deepak  

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For Sri Lanka to turn the tables, senior batsmen at the top of the order should find form

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews feels the ongoing five-match ODI series against India is a huge learning curve for some in the absence of some of the more-experienced players.

However, after the performance graph dipped in the first two one-dayers, the Lankan think-tank must have realised that it is not just the inability of the young talent to rise to the occasion but the need of ‘golden oldies’ like Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumara Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene to score heavily if the team is to stay afloat in the series. The team takes on India in the third One-Day International at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium under lights here on Sunday.

Familiar experience

In a way, this is not a new experience for any team touring India. Even the best in the business have found the Indians to be imposing in home conditions, in which the batsmen score heavily.

The return to form of opener Shikhar Dhawan, who struggled in England, is an example of how an Indian batsman can quickly regain confidence. By his own account, he worked a lot on his batting on returning from England and a talk with V.V.S. Laxman, mentor of IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad (for which Dhawan was a star performer last season) seems to have worked.

So, not surprisingly, the Indian batting looks awesome in batsman-friendly conditions. Ambati Rayudu’s promotion to No. 3 and his response with his maiden ODI century in the second match of this series is another pointer to the remarkably wide options the stand-in captain Virat Kohli has in the batting line-up.

It will be interesting to see what kind of reception Rayudu gets in front of his ‘home’ crowd after his growing stature in the Indian team. Not long ago he was almost pushed into oblivion for various reasons.

The abundance of riches in the batting department makes the Indian bowlers look better too. This is amply proved by Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav’s showing with the new-ball and, in the spin department, by R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and emerging star Axar Patel.

Perfect wicket

With curator Y. L. Chandrasekhar preparing what he promises to be a perfect one-day wicket, it will be a huge challenge for the Sri Lankans to turn the tables. They are capable of it, but what is important is the timing. Another failure here may mean dented morale, and to prevent that they have to raise the bar.

With only captain Angelo Mathews, the leading scorer for his team in 2014, and Sangakkara in one game batting well, it is imperative for the others to come up to his expectations. And the skipper will obviously look forward to an improved fielding display, too.

The teams (from):

India: Virat Kohli (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra, Stuart Binny and Ishant Sharma.

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt.), Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Lahiru Gamage, Kushal Perera, Ashan Priyanjan, Chaturanga de Silva, Thisara Perara, Niroshan Dickwella, Suraj Randiv, Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Nuwan Kulasekara and Seekkuge Prasanna.

Umpires: Vineet Kulkarni & Bruce Oxenford (Australia). Match referee: David Boon.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 1:44:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/indiasri-lanka-match-preview/article6578692.ece

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