India vs Sri Lanka, 5th match, Tri-series, MirpurIndia Aim for Final Berth Against Familiar Rivals09-Jan-2010 14:54:00 GMT
Dhaka: Their campaign is back on track after the win over Bangladesh but India will have to address top-order batting woes and inconsistent bowling to upstage a rampaging Sri Lanka in their third match of the Tri-series on Sunday.
India have four points with a win from two matches and will aim to book a place in the January 13 final by beating Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Sunday.
Sri Lanka have already qualified for the final after their crushing Bangladesh by nine wickets on Friday. The hosts are yet to open their account from three matches.
A win for India on Sunday will also be a sweet revenge for their five-wicket loss to the same opponents on January 5. But to make it happen, India will have to address bowling worries and top order batting inconsistency.
With dew still playing an important role in deciding the match despite the early start, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said a big total is a must if the team is forced to defend.
The Indians could not do so against Sri Lanka in the first match after Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and Dhoni and his men were asked to bat.
In the next game against Bangladesh also, the opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir did not fire and India were in trouble at 51/3 only to be rescued by Dhoni and Suresh Raina.
India need a strong start from Sehwag and Gambhir if they have to beat Sri Lanka on Sunday. Sehwag, in particular, would want to score big on Sunday as he has not hit a hundred in Bangladesh.
But the more problematic area is bowling which Dhoni himself admitted is a concern.
Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan has leaked runs in the two matches so far and the usually consistent Ashish Nehra has also been expensive along with S Sreesanth.
Even the usually reliable spin spearhead Harbhajan Singh has been off-colour though he picked up three wickets in the first match.
Captain Dhoni has not minced words in asking his frontline bowlers to improve themselves.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka, on a roll after winning three matches in the series, have been strengthened by the return of Mahela Jayawardene, who hit a century against Bangladesh just a day after reaching the city.
In-form Tillakaratne Dilshan is also likely to make it to the playing XI having almost recovered from the groin strain he suffered in the tournament opener against Bangladesh.
Thilan Samaraweera played a crucial knock against India, Upul Tharanga smashed a century against Bangladesh on Friday and captain Kumar Sangakkara has also been in good touch.
The Sri Lankan top order is in fine form and that will be a huge test for the struggling Indian bowlers.
The Lankans would come hard at Dhoni and his men again as they have been a disappointed lot after losing the series in India last month.
"We were disappointed to lose the ODI series as we played some very good cricket there. Both the teams have played a lot recently and probably both knew each other inside out. I am looking forward to the match on Sunday," Jayawardene said.
India: Amit Mishra could be played the final XI.
Squad (likely): MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, S Sreesanth/Amit Mishra.
Sri Lanka: Dilshan is all set to return to action, having recovered from his groin strain.
Squad (likely): Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Thissara Perera, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara, Malinga Bandara.
Stats and trivia
- Twenty of India's last 46 ODIs have been against Sri Lanka. Only 12 of those 46 have been outside the subcontinent. Their next most frequent opponent has been Australia, against whom they have played seven games.
- Jayawardene averages 62.5 as an opener. Two of his 12 ODI centuries have come during his four attempts at opening the innings.
Sunday January 10, 2010 (day/night)
Start time 14:00 local time (0800 GMT), 01:30pm IST & SLT