While Dilshan is dissipating at the top, Tharanga is gradually consolidating himself at No 1.
Kumar Sangakkara's team lost the battle but won the war. The bonus point provoked elusive, but a win is a win. The team cannot be all that upbeat and over the moon as the Black Cops surrendered their wickets rather weekly, through they did provide a semblance of a fight back with the ball and succeeded in denying the Sri Lankans of a total, emphatic trimph.Monday’s dash between the Asian giants is chockfull of interest and replace with intriguing possibilities.
The home team is four points to the good while the Indian cupboard is as bare as old Mother Hubbard’s. Dhoni’s Indians are capable of coming from behind, as they demonstrated in the recently concluded test series. However, in the tests they had comfort in the thought that they had, arguably the best line up around. The ODI team has some talented yet unproven performers.
Most of the Indian batsmen were fishing outside the off stump and consequently four were snapped up at first slip, two at second and one by the keeper. Playing away from the body is a gaining technical deficiency and Sehwag and company will have to mend their ways if they hope to rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of their defeat.
One discusses that a new strip will be used for this important game. The pitch used for the first two games behaved differently. The Indians, batting under lights, fell one after another, on a pitch that had pace, bounce and same lateral movement. The New Zealanders reveled in these conditions and bowled with zest and enthusiasm.
The pitch for the Sri Lanka-New Zealand match was almost unrecognizable, gone was the pace and the ball wasn't exactly flying around the ears. It came through at a pace that permitted batsman to pull and cut with ease. At times the bounce was spongy and this led to a few miscues.
Has the bogey of batting under lights been laid? Not quite. After all, one swallow does not make a summer. This Sri Lankans will have visions of what Nehra, Zaheer and Praveen did to them in the Asia Cup Final. Yet, Sri Lanka's batting has a cosy, comfortable look about it, especially when half centurions Kulasekera, Herath, Mendis and Malinga occupy the lower rings.
A cause for concern is the way Sri Lanka's middle order folded up in pursuit of an eminently achievable target. Dilshan's slam-bang approach does not always work. Sangakkara and Jayawardena (the latter despite Friday's failure) remain the titans, the ones every opposing bowler would love to bag. Mathews succumbed tamely and it was left to Samaraweera to show what can be achieved with a sensible display of batsmanship.
Why, oh why was Kapugedera’s entry delayed? As a talented front line batter shouldn’t he have come in ahead of Kulasekera and Hearth? One feels that this hard-to defend switch in the order led to the loss of the bonus point. What of the Indian's? Kohli will sincerely come in he has a good record against the Sri Lankans. But the big guns - Sehwag, Yuvraj, Raina and Dhoni - will have to put runs on the board. Rather than languishing at six or seven, Dhoni may come in earlier and dictate the trend of the game. After all, he has done it with success in some games.
Sangakkara's men have the upper hand as of now, and Dhoni's team have a must win game on their hands. The great imponderables are the lights and the pitch. The spin of the coin could prove to be another lottery.
India (From): MS Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Virender Sehwag (vice-captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ashish Nehra, Pragyan Ojha, Munaf Patel, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh
Sri Lanka from: Kumar Sangakkara (captain/wicketkeeper), Mahela Jayawardene (vice-captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dilhara Fernando, Rangana Herath, Suraj Randiv, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekera, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Thisara Perera, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Upul Tharanga