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India vs Sri Lanka 2021: First ODI Preview - Chance For India's Bench Strength To Make Big Statement

Shikhar Dhawan (AFP Photo)

Shikhar Dhawan (AFP Photo)

The three-match ODI series will provide India with a chance to test their bench strength while also giving opportunity to some senior players to consolidate their position in the Indian XI

India and Sri Lanka will clash in a three-match ODI series starting in Colombo from Sunday, the 18th of July. With the main contingent on Test duty in England, it would be a chance for India, under the leadership of Shikhar-Dhawan to showcase the strength in their reserves. A few positions in the lower-middle order and the pace bowling unit are still up for grabs and a good performance in Sri Lanka can elevate the status of a few players. The series also provides the home team with a challenge to test some of their young talent and give tough competition to a highly skilled Indian outfit.

India annihilated Sri Lanka in a historic sweep (5-0) the last time they visited the country in 2017. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were India’s stars with the bat in the series. While Kohli amassed 330 runs in 5 innings at a strike rate of 111.86 with two hundreds, Rohit scored 302 runs at a strike rate of 97.1 also registering two centuries. Jasprit Bumrah created a new record for any series in Sri Lanka bagging a whopping 15 wickets at 11.26 a piece at a brilliant economy rate of 3.9.

India has dominated Sri Lanka over the last decade all over the world and have a 16-4 head to head against their neighbours in the last 20 ODI matches between them. Since the 1st of January, 2011, India has beaten the hosts in 9 of the 10 ODIs they have played against them in Sri Lanka which is a staggering record.

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WHAT: India vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI

WHEN: July 20, 3 PM IST

WHERE: Colombo

TELECAST: Sony Liv

LIVE STREAMING: Sony Liv

India

India’s second-string XI will go as favourites to win the three-match series against Sri Lanka - such is the talent available in the Indian pool across formats. Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw are a formidable opening combination as they displayed for the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021. While the left-hander is one of the all-time greats in the format, the series provides a massive opportunity for Shaw to cement a place as the reserve ODI opener for India. He was in devastating form in the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy and the IPL and would be desperate to prove his prowess at the highest level for India.

Ishan Kishan is likely to be India’s first-choice keeper for the series and should be slotted at number three. He was in indifferent form in IPL 2021 and this series will give him a good opportunity to roar back into top gear for the country. Suryakumar Yadav is the one to watch out for at Number 4 - a position which is up for grabs and the right-hander has all the ingredients to prosper and own the slot for India.

Manish Pandey might get a last chance to prove his merit at number 5 while Hardik Pandya will be the choice for number 6. The series will be important for the all-rounder and the focus will be as much on his bowling and his destructive hitting with the bat.

Brother Krunal Pandya may get in at number 7 while Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Chetan Sakariya and Rahul Chahar should be the four bowlers in the XI. It would be interesting to see Kumar and Chahar share the white new ball for India as both are big extracts of swing. Kumar has seen a dramatic transformation in his wicket-taking prowess since 2019 and has the best bowling average amongst all pacers in this time-frame.

Going by form, it would be surprising if India decides to play the wrist-spinning duo of Yuzvendra Chahal or Kuldeep Yadav at least in the series opener.

Possible Playing XI: 1. Shikhar Dhawan, 2. Prithvi Shaw, 3. Ishan Kishan, 4. Suryakumar Yadav, 5. Manish Pandey, 6. Hardik Pandya, 7. Krunal Pandya, 8. Deepak Chahar, 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10. Rahul Chahar, 11. Chetan Sakariya

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Sri Lanka 

Sri Lanka cricket has been marred with controversy and Covid-19 over the last few weeks and the series provides an opportunity for some fresh faces to put that behind and make a mark for the country against a quality Indian line-up.

Sri Lanka have had a torrid time in ODI cricket of late and lost their three last bilateral series which includes a 2-1 beating in Bangladesh. They were also amongst the worst performers in the 2019 World Cup in England and lost 7 of their 9 encounters.

The team has talent but lacks in experience and performing under pressure and crunch situations.

Avishka Fernando is the batsman to watch out for at the top of the order. He is capable of providing a quick start and can take on the Indian fast bowlers and spinners in the powerplay. He has an average of 669 runs in 20 matches at a strike rate of 96.67 in ODI cricket.

Pathum Nissanka is a technically correct top-order batsman who has an average of 64.45 after 65 innings with 14 hundreds in first-class cricket. He has not had a good start to his ODI career but has the talent and ability to perform on the biggest stage.

Akila Dananjaya will be Sri Lanka’s trump card with the ball and has impressive returns of 51 wickets in 34 bowling innings in ODI cricket. Dananjaya could be a potential match-winner on the spinner-friendly tracks in Colombo where he returned with his best figures in ODI cricket - 6-29 in 9 overs against South Africa in 2018.

The Sri Lankan captain for the ODI series - Dasun Shanaka - is a dangerous lower-order hitter well capable of clearing the ropes. Wanindu Hasaranga has been Sri Lanka’s best all-rounder over the last one year and has a strike rate of 102.16 in ODI cricket.

Dushmantha Chameera could trouble the Indians with his pace with the new ball - he was Sri Lanka’s best bowler in England.

Possible Playing XI: 1. Avishka Fernando, 2. Pathum Nissanka, 3. Minod Bhanuka, 4. Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 5. Dhananjaya de Silva, 6. Dasun Shanaka, 7. Wanindu Hasaranga, 8. Isuru Udana, 9. Chamika Karunaratne, 10. Dushmantha Chameera, 11. Akila Dananjaya

To Watch Out For

Prithvi Shaw has been in scintillating form in domestic circuit scoring big runs at a stunning strike rate. This is his chance to go big for India.

Quotes:

‘It is a new challenge but at the same time it is a great opportunity for all of us to show our talent. Everybody is waiting’ - India’s captain Shikhar Dhawan

‘We all know that they have played IPL but still they haven’t played international cricket, so both the teams have an even chance’ - Sri Lanka’s captain Dasun Shanaka

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first published:July 17, 2021, 18:50 IST