India look to shake off disappointment of narrow loss in opening game; lock horns with Sri Lanka

India also had to contend with skipper MS Dhoni not taking the field during the West Indian innings due to the cramps he suffered while batting © Getty Images

Kingston: Jul 1, 2013
Their unbeaten run brought to a halt, India would look to get over the disappointment of a narrow loss when they take on familiar sub-continental foes Sri Lanka in their second match of the tri-nation ODI series at Kingston on Tuesday.
The one-wicket loss to the West Indies on Sunday ended India’s nine-match winning streak during which they lifted the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in London last month. India had won four Tests against Australia and five matches in the recent Champions Trophy on the trot.
Tested by the conditions, the famed Indian batting struggled and even though the team’s bowlers did a commendable job, the hosts managed to snatch a win by the thinnest of margins.
The Indians also had to contend with skipper MS Dhoni not taking the field during the West Indian innings due to the cramps he suffered while batting.
It is not clear whether Dhoni was merely dehydrated or was laid low by a hamstring injury. In case of a hamstring injury, Dhoni may not get enough time to recover and take the field on Tuesday.
On a pitch which did not exactly help stroke-making, Rohit Sharma shone with a patient half century.
Promoted to the role of opener during the Champions Trophy, Rohit seems at ease in the position and would be expected to come good against the Lankans too.
But the troika of Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik found the going tough in the tournament-opener and will have to adapt quickly to make an impact.
Suresh Raina, however, applied himself well for a 44 that was crucial to take India past 200.
The bowlers did their job commendably and could have pulled it off for India had they been given more runs to defend.
The pace trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma got the breakthroughs whenever they were given the ball and were ably supported by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who also grabbed a couple of wickets.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were quite literally mauled in their opening match. They just about managed to post a little over 200 and were then left to contend with a raging Chris Gayle, who unleashed his fury in the most devastating manner.
The shock of that defeat would be difficult to get over for the island nation and it would be interesting to see how they cope with the prospect of having to contain a strong Indian line-up.
The over-reliance on senior batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara once again stood exposed with no batsman, apart from Angelo Mathews, contributing significantly in the previous match. The Lankans would have to strike as a unit as individual brilliance cannot shine through in every game.
Their bowlers too cut a sorry figure and did not have a clue on how to deal with Gayle.
Whether it was the pace duo of Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara or msytery spinner Ajantha Mendis, the Lankan bowlers did not have anything going for them and would look for a reversal of fortunes against India.