Sri Lanka broke their losing streak in the opening ODI against India after registering a sensational victory by 7 wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the 3 match series. The Men in Blue will back themselves to win the remaining couple of matches to seal the series, but they would be disappointed at their performance in the opening ODI at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala.
They were blown away by the Sri Lankan pacers with Suranga Lakmal bagging 4. He was sensational up front and kept on troubling the Indian top order. Angelo Mathews ably supported him and Nuwan Pradeep as the Men in Blue was reduced to 29/7. MS Dhoni was the lone man standing, and his innings of 65 eventually helped India go past the century mark.
He again proved why he is still one of the very best limited overs batsmen, especially in crunch situations. The Lankans were wrecked early, but Jasprit Bumrah’s no ball woes continued to haunt him as Upul Tharanga survived a no-ball after edging it straight to the slip cordon. Tharanga cashed on his opportunity and scored 48 which brought Sri Lanka within touching distance of the target. Eventually, they chased the total down with nearly 30 overs to spare.
India will look to come out all guns blazing in the 2nd ODI at the PCA Stadium in Mohali and level the series. This was a similar sort of a situation which India faced during the series against New Zealand. Eventually, they made a strong comeback and won the series 2-1. They would be hoping for a similar fate in the ongoing series against the Islanders.
Ajnikya Rahane might be brought back in the Playing XI. He was out of touch during the Test series, but in his previous ODI series against the Aussies, the stylish right-hander had struck four consecutive half-centuries. He might not open the innings as Dhawan and Rohit in all probabilities will come out at the top. However, Rahane can be accommodated in the 3rd position, and his experience might come in very handy.
In that case, either Shreyas Iyer or Dinesh Karthik have to sit out. The rest of the playing XI is expected to remain the same despite the mediocre performance in the opening clash. This is the core group of players who are expected to be part of the 2019 World Cup scheduled to be played in England and Wales.
Predicted XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
After a sensational victory in the opening encounter Sri Lanka in all likelihood is expected to retain the same playing XI for the 2nd ODI slated to be played tomorrow in Mohali. The bowling department proved to be lethal in pace friendly conditions and will look to carry on from where they left in Dharamsala.
Apart from a few glitches here and there the batting department looks organised but to be successful they have to perform on a consistent basis which hasn’t been the case for Sri Lanka in the past couple of years.
Predicted XI: Danushka Gunathilaka, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera, Sachith Pathirana, Suranga Lakmal, Akila Dananjaya, Nuwan Pradeep.
Sri Lanka might have won the opening clash against the Men in Blue by a big margin, but the hosts will be hopeful of making a comeback come tomorrow. Despite Sri Lanka’s big win, India will back themselves to win a remaining couple of matches to bag the series. On a personal front, I also feel that the Men in Blue will have a great day tomorrow and will level the series 1-1.