Former Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan believes that Sri Lanka carries a slight edge ahead of the third ODI against India in Colombo. With the series already decided, Sri Lanka will still want to get the valuable ten points in their World Cup Super League tally and prevent a whitewash. Muttiah Muralitharan feels that with a lot more variety, the hosts have the bowling attack to restrict India to a chasable total.
Sri Lanka affected three changes for the final One-day international against India in Colombo, benching Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha, and Wanindu Hasaranga. Hasaranga, Sri Lanka’s best bowler in the second ODI, missed out due to an injury. Nevertheless, Lakshan Sandakan and Kasun Rajitha could not deliver impressive performances in the previous game. Instead, the home side drafted Praveen Jayawickrama, Ramesh Mendis and Akila Dananjaya.
While Muttiah Muralitharan agrees that Sri Lanka’s batting unit is on the weaker side, their bowling line-up offers plenty of options. The 49-year old feels that the hosts have several spinners, mentioning that Akila Dananjaya is a different kind of bowler, bowling off-spin and leg-spin. Muralitharan observed that they have medium pacers and fast bowlers too, making it a balanced attack.
“Ya, Sri Lanka looks a little bit weaker batting wise in this line-up. But when it comes to bowling, there are plenty of options because they have gone with so many spinners. They have got an off-spinner, a left-arm spinner is coming, but I can’t say that Akila Dananjaya is an off-spinner because he bowls googlies, so they have plenty of variations and medium pace and they have fast bowlers too. So, I think they have a balanced bowling attack,” Muralitharan told ESPN Cricinfo.
India is a little bit lucky because their bowlers don’t have to go through so much of heat: Muttiah Muralitharan
But Muttiah Muralitharan pointed out that Sri Lanka has to bowl in the heat, unlike India, revealing that bowling first in the Island nation is tough. The Kandy-born former offie believes the home side has an edge as India is weak as a bowling unit and should fancy chasing a score of below 300.
“But the only thing is they have to bowl with this heat. In Sri Lanka, bowling first is tough because; hence, India is a little bit lucky because their bowlers don’t have to go through so much of heat. In the night, it’s a bit better to bowl. So, I think, it’s balanced for both sides. But this game, I think Sri Lanka has an edge because India has a weaker bowling and they can chase if they keep them under 300 and Sri Lanka has the best chance of winning this game,” he added.