India vs Sri Lanka 2013 3rd tri-series match Preview

India would be hoping their famed batting line-up comes good after a minor blip against the West Indies © AFP

By Jaideep Vaidya

Kingston (Jamaica): Jul 1, 2013

Asian neighbours India and Sri Lanka face each other in the third match of the Caribbean tri-series after a defeat each to hosts West Indies in their respective opening encounters. The home team have surged ahead in the points table with nine points in their kitty from two matches, while India and Sri Lanka are yet to open their accounts. So, both teams would be looking to gain some advantage going into the second round of the round robin stage by winning on Tuesday, hoping to avoid a struggle to qualify for the final on July 11.

On Sunday’s encounter against West Indies, India saw their five-match unbeaten run in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) being broken by the narrowest of margins. It was the defending world champions’ batting, which is their trump card, that failed against the Windies at Sabina Park. Rohit Sharma’s responsible 60 and Suresh Raina’s timely 44 was the only silver lining as the powerful Indian batting line-up, unchanged from England and Wales, could muster up only 229 for seven on the board. India would hope that it was just a one-off.

That being said, the Indian bowling produced an inspiring effort in their bid to defend the modest total and fell just one-wicket short of what would have been a great win. Umesh Yadav took three wickets, while Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin got a brace each. The only disappointment, and surprisingly at that, was the ICC Champions Trophy’s Golden Ball winner Ravindra Jadeja’s figures of 10-1-50-0.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were abysmal in their six-wicket defeat to the hosts. Their capable batting line-up could manage only 208 runs, while their bowlers conceded defeat within 40 overs to hand the West Indies a bonus point. The Sri Lankans have been criticised for relying too much on their three experienced batting stalwarts in Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan. In Dilshan’s absence (hamstring) and Sangakkara’s failure (17 off 23 balls), it was only Jayawardene (52 off 52 balls) and captain Angelo Mathews (55 not out off 77 balls) who scored more than 30 runs against the Windies on a pitch that wasn’t too hard to bat on. To top it all, none of their bowlers, who include proficient talents like Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara and Rangana Herath, could get more than one wicket each as the West Indies cruised to an easy win.

India and Sri Lanka have faced each other copious amount of times since the 2007 World Cup and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. India have been the better of the two sides head-to-head in the last six years with 27 wins out of a possible 45, including beating their neighbours in the final of the 2011 World Cup and the semi-final of the 2013 Champions Trophy. While the Lankans have insisted that revenge isn’t on their minds while playing India, one knows that it’s sentiment laced with diplomacy. Will Sabina Park change the flow? One thing is for sure — the Lankans will have to play out of their skins if they are to beat this confident Indian side, who wouldn’t be too perturbed with their latest defeat.

In team news, India are unlikely to field captain MS Dhoni after he suffered from cramps while batting in the West Indies match and did not take the field during the second innings. The Indians wouldn’t want to risk their skipper and ensure that he’s fit for the latter stages of the series. This means that Murali Vijay, who is the only other batsman available on the bench, would be the automatic choice to come in, which would result in a shuffling of the order. Vijay is an out-and-out opener and is unlikely to be slotted anywhere other than the two opening positions. This would result in Rohit Sharma shifting down the order to No 3 or 4, which would break a successful opening partnership with Shikhar Dhawan. It’s a difficult decision to take for the coach and stand-in skipper Virat Kohli, but one that is inevitable.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, would mostly field an unchanged team.

Teams:

India (Probable): Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

Sri Lanka (Probable): Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jeevan Mendis, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis.

Time: 20.00 IST | 14.30 GMT

(Jaideep Vaidya is a reporter, sub-editor and analyst at CricketCountry. A diehard Manchester United fan and multiple sports buff, you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook)