3rd ODI preview: Sri Lanka in do-or-die territory

Match details

Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
August 27, Sunday; 14:30 IST and local
Sony Ten 3, Sony Ten 3 HD (Hindi); Sony Six and Sony Six HD (English)

The main picture

Before the second ODI, we had seen Sri Lanka keep going down without a fight. On Thursday, they came close to winning and India, for the very first time on this tour, were presented with a challenge. We also witnessed one of the great passages of play while Dananjaya de Silva was in his second spell, in which he ran through the Indian top and middle order (Rohit Sharma, Kedar Jadhav, Virat Kohli, and Lokesh Rahul), and Sri Lanka had a discernible belief and energy about them on the field, aspects that were missing until this point.

Now, from a psychological viewpoint, heavy losses can have as much of a demoralising effect as losing a close match which you were favourites to win at one stage. When India were 131/7, Sri Lanka held all the aces and you will have anticipated only one winner. But the final result has kept them win-less and more importantly, their shortcomings remain at the forefront ahead of the do-or-die third ODI at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Sri Lanka, as evidenced by Dananjaya taking 6/54, need a team performance now more than ever because good individual performances have simply not been enough and will not be sufficient for them to beat Virat Kohli’s India going forward. Also, the Lankan Lions need to play well over the course of 100 overs and cannot be content with just flashes of brilliance with the bat or with the ball.

India will like to look at the second ODI as a good workout. When they experimented with the batting order, they will have wanted the likes of Jadhav and Rahul to score some runs. But even though their plan didn’t quite come to fruition, the team management is unlikely to be displeased and might well give Jadhav and Rahul promotions in the batting order once again.

On the bowling front, India haven’t been disciplined in the first two ODIs, bowling 21 wides and those many extra deliveries as a result. Bowling is one of the areas of concern—form of the middle order is the other—and India need the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya to tighten up on their lines and lengths.

The toss has been decisive so far in this ODI series and these two teams will want to bowl first again, particularly with the threat of rain in Pallekele. From a neutral’s viewpoint, India batting first will potentially increase the chances of witnessing another contest. For Sri Lanka, time is running out for September 30 World Cup 2019 deadline and they remain needing two victories to take themselves closer to automatic qualification. The fact that India remain experimental gives the Lankan Lions a chance to secure the two victories needed.

Most recent results

SL: LLLLW (most recent result first, from left to right)

Sri Lanka vs India head to head in ODI matches

The Men in Blue have extended their head-to-head record against the Islanders to 85-55 in 158 meetings so far. One of those matches has ended in a tie and 17 have not produced results.

India have won both their matches at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, including Thursday’s victory.

Team news and probable playing XI

Upul Tharanga has been handed a two-ODI suspension for slow over-rate, despite India winning the second one-dayer in 44.2 overs. Danushka Gunathilaka suffered a shoulder injury during India’s innings in Pallekele and he has been advised 10 days’ rest. This duo’s places have gone to Dinesh Chandimal, the captain of the Sri Lankan Test team, and Lahiru Thirimanne, while Chamara Kapugedera has been made the stand-in captain.

Apart from Dananjaya and Siriwardana’s (1/39, 10 overs) performances with the ball, the hosts didn’t have another wicket-taker to not only supplement them but also close out the match and level the series 1-1. Dushmantha Chameera was one of the changes for Sri Lanka in the second ODI and following a poor show (0/45, 7 overs), he might make way for Thisara Perera or Wanindu Hasaranga. Lasith Malinga has lacked ammunition, but because of a lack of an ideal replacement, he might well retain his place in Sri Lanka’s playing XI. The hosts are likely to make three changes once again to their XI from the last ODI.

Likely SL playing XI: 1 Chamara Kapugedera (C), 2 Niroshan Dickwella (WK), 3 Lahiru Thirimanne, 4 Kusal Mendis, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Milinda Siriwardana, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga/Thisara Perera, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Vishwa Fernando, and 11 Akila Dananjaya

The tinkering of the batting line-up in the second ODI was India’s first major experiment on this tour and they are likely to experiment with their existing set of batsmen once again. As far as India’s playing XI is concerned, the team management is unlikely to tinker with the winning combination yet and they have no room too, to make a change.

India’s likely playing XI for the third ODI: 1 Virat Kohli (C), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 Lokesh Rahul, 5 MS Dhoni (WK), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, and 11 Yuzvendra Chahal


India’s tour of Sri Lanka has largely been filled with one-sided contests, but the hosts have been involved in defining battles, largely with themselves and against the Indian batting line-up. And if the Lankan Lions are to get on board in this series, they need to win these battles. India have yet to achieve their goals as far as this ODI series is concerned and those goals will be at the forefront of their minds on Sunday, as well.

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