India vs Sri Lanka 2013 tri-series final Preview

India beat Sri Lanka by 81 runs to reach the final of the tri-series in the Caribbean © AFP

By Sarang Bhalerao

Jul 10, 2013

Inspired India beat Sri Lanka by 81 runs at the Port of Spain in a do-or-die encounter to seal the final berth. India were under the cosh after their loss in the first two games. The manner in which India won their final two encounters – by obtaining the bonus point shows the reason why they are the No 1 side in One-Day International (ODI) cricket. On Thursday, they will lock horns with Sri Lanka in the final of the tri-series at the Port of Spain. The momentum will be with India since they have so far been unbeaten at the venue.

The inclusion of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the final might give India the incisive edge. “Dhoni is getting better and he may be fit for the final,” Virat Kohli said during the toss on Tuesday against Sri Lanka at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

India’s bowling has been impressive. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s figures of 6-1-8-4 were a reward for bowling just around the off-stump with subtle movement. The conditions have tended to suit the pace bowlers because of the lateral movement on the wicket. Umesh Yadav has had issues with the controlling the new ball but he has been finding the movement. Ishant Sharma has been playing the role of the backup seamer and has so far picked up six wickets in three games.

The spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have found a lot of turn at the Queen’s Park Oval. Kohli has given the duo attacking fields and encouraged them to go for wickets.

Indian batsmen have shouldered the responsibility well after not-so-good performance in the first two games. Kohli is in good form after his century against West Indies. Rohit Sharma played a mature knock of 48 against Sri Lanka to give India a decent platform before rain intervened. Rohit’s innings was decisive in the final analysis.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, might be a tad jaded after playing continuously for three days. Against India their batting collapsed like a pack of cards. No top-order batsman could get going and in the end 96 all out was a morale-shattering performance.

Sri Lankan batting has the class to overcome the disastrous performance. In their first game against India the opening duo of Upul Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene scored a century each and batted India out of the game. Kumar Sangakkara is fresh from a classy 90 against West Indies. Angelo Mathews too has been in good touch.

Shaminda Eranga has bowled with a lot of pace but has gone for runs as well. In the absence of Nuwan Kulasekhara, Dilhara Lokuhettige has opened the bowling for Sri Lanka. Lokuhettige has made a comeback in the Sri Lankan side after eight years. Mathews has been Sri Lanka’s most economical bowler in the tri-series and he has also picked up wickets. Lasith Malinga is Sri Lanka’s strike bowler who can never be discounted. Rangana Herath is in good rhythm and the couple of wickets he got against India – an arm ball to trap Kohli and the sharp turn to beat Dinesh Karthik on Tuesday highlights his class.

The sides are evenly matched. Both of them have beaten each other by thumping margins. Expect the final to be a riveting contest.

Teams:

India (probable): Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c&wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.

Sri Lanka (probable): Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews (c), Jeevan Mendis, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga,Lasith Malinga.

Time: 19.00 IST | 13.30 GMT

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)