PREVIEW IND vs SL: A horribly out-of-form Ajinkya Rahane will be aiming to get his mojo back as India, formidable even without regular skipper Virat Kohli, eye another 'Whitewash' against Sri Lanka in the three-match ODI series, starting on Sunday. From the polluted 'Gas Chamber' of National Capital, the action has now shifted to the most scenic cricket stadium in the country in the backdrop of the pristine Dhauladhar Range. The primary objective for chief coach Ravi Shastri and stand-in captain Rohit Sharma will be to look at various combinations in both departments against an out-of-sorts team. With the match starting at 11:30 am in cooler confines and bouncy conditions, the toss could prove to be a crucial factor during the opening ODI. Having won five straight bilateral series apart from reaching Champions Trophy final, a 3-0 win will put India on top of ICC ODI rankings, overtaking South Africa. The last time India faced Sri Lanka in the one-dayers, Kohli's men swept aside the Island nation 5-0. Even without their inspirational skipper, a batting line-up comprising Rohit, Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav could prove to be a handful for any opposition. While the opening slot seems locked with Rohit and Dhawan at the top, Rahane is likely to get a chance at the number three position with Kohli given a much-needed rest. However if Dhawan, who was down with viral fever on Saturday, pulls out then Rahane could be seen opening the innings. The stylish Mumbai batsman had scored three half-centuries and a hundred in the bilaterals against West Indies in June-July, before blasting four successive fifties against Australia at home. The only ODI game that he played against Sri Lanka this year, Rahane scored just 5 before stumbling upon a rough patch in the Test series against Sri Lanka. With the South Africa Test series round the corner, the team management would certainly want their favourite 'Jinks' to break the jinx.
Dinesh Karthik and Mahendra Singh Dhoni is likely to take the next two slots, before Kedar Jadhav comes at the number six.
The 1st ODI between India and Sri Lanka will be broadcast live on Star Sports 1, 3 and Star Sports 1, 3 HD. The live broadcast of the 1st ODI between India and Sri Lanka will start at 11:30 AM IST. The 1st ODI between India and Sri Lanka can be streamed online on www.hotstar.com. For live scores, updates, and analysis, you can follow our live blog on cricketnext.com.
Teams: India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul.
Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (capt), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Chaturanga de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushmantha Chameera, Sachith Pathirana, Kusal Perera.