Sri Lanka v India, 1st ODI, Hambantota
Rejuvenated India Face in-form Sri Lanka20-Jul-2012 16:54:00 GMT
Hambantota: A rejuvenated India would look for a winning start to the new season but the task would be easier said than done against a strong Sri Lanka as the two sides clash in a five-match ODI series starting on Saturday.
Barring the IPL, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India have not been in action since their last international outing in South Africa in March 30.
The hosts beat Pakistan at home in both ODIs and Tests, outplaying the high-riding opponents with a clinical performance.
But India are not Pakistan and are known for greater deeds of consistency at the very high echelons of competitiveness.
Dhoni echoed the Indians' familiarity with Sri Lankan conditions saying, "We are no strangers to Sri Lankan conditions. So acclimatisation would not be an issue".
The Indian captain was implying that the near two months break the players have had since the IPL would serve them well as the team aims to win the series to herald the new season for them on a happy note.
Dhoni made no secret of India's ambitions in the next tour to the emerald isle, the world Twenty20. He was happy that most of the players in the touring team would form the nucleus of the side for the world T20.
For Mahela Jayawardene and the Sri Lankans, it would just be the continuation of the good yields in the series against Pakistan.
Like his Indian opposite number, the Lankan captain thought the series should provide a good basis to launch the world T20 campaign.
In the Indian squad their new vice-captain Virat Kohli and a solid Rohit Sharma would be the players to watch out for apart from a couple of comeback men opener Virender Sehwag and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin would look to make an impression on the spin-friendly tracks.
Among Jayawardene's new guns are 24-year-old left arm pacer Isuru Udana. The youngster has only appeared in six T20 internationals albeit three years apart after making his debut in 2009. He was recalled to play the last month's T20 against the Pakistan.
Chamara Kapugedera and Rangana Herath are the other 'comeback boys' in the one day squad.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Angelo Mathews (vice-capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thisara Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Malinga, Chamara Kapugedara, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake, Jeevan Mendis, Isuru Udana.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), Virat Kohli (vice-captain), Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ashok Dinda, Irfan Pathan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma.
Pitch & conditions
The show piece Mahinda Rajapaksa stadium's location, Suriyawewa in the deep southern district of Hambantota, is among the lowest of rainfall areas. This would mean that weather gods would not have any say, a welcome change from the rain plagued series against Pakistan.
Stats and trivia
- Upul Tharanga averages 37.12 against all teams in ODIs since the start of 2010, but only makes 11.76 an innings against India in that period.
- Lasith Malinga leads the ODI wicket-chart for 2012, with 36 scalps.
- Virat Kohli's ODI average of 50.56 puts him fifth in the all-time list
Saturday July 21, 2012 (day/night)
Start time 14:30 local (09:00 GMT)