India vs Sri Lanka 2nd ODI Preview on Tuesday 24 july at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota.
India after having a great blast of victory in the opening series against Sri lanka avourites India will be aiming to keep up the momentum when they take on hosts Sri Lanka in the second ODI on Tuesday 24 july at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota.
India cruised to a 21-run win against the islanders in the opening ODI — courtesy in-form Virat Kohli who smashed 106 and senior batsman Virender Sehwag who made a significant contribution with an innings of 96.
It is a wicket where ‘win the toss and bat first’ is the mantra for all captains and Mahendra Singh Dhoni was no different on the other day.
For India, it will be an advantage of sorts as Sri Lanka’s most consistent new-ball bowler in recent times, Nuwan Kulasekara is out of the series with a groin injury sustained while trying to attempt a catch during the first ODI.
All eyes will again be on man-of-the-moment Kohli who has now scored four centuries in his last five appearances and is in the form of his life.
It would certainly boost his confidence that he has started the new season with a flawless century.
As was clearly evident from the last game, the Sri Lankan batting is a little over dependent on Kumar Sangakkara, who batted right through the innings, scoring 133 from 151 deliveries and still ended on the losing side due to lack of any significant effort from the other end. However, the Sri Lankan top order can be very brutal with the likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, skipper Mahela Jayawerdene and Dinesh Chandimal, all having great records against the Indians. Lahiru Thirimanne needs to justify his position in the squad by making a useful contribution with the bat. Thisara Perera, who brought the hosts very close to the target with some belligerent hitting during the the end overs, has gained the reputation for being an explosive lower order batsman. Even if the Indian bowlers break through Lankan top order, they would not be relieved until they send this man back to the pavilion.
The most distressing news coming from the Sri Lankan camp is that their frontline pacer Nuwan Kulasekara is out of the remaining games due to a groin injury that he sustained in the first game while attempting a catch at mid off. This will open the doors for uncapped Isuru Udana who has meritoriously made his way into the international team following a creditable domestic season. Lasith Malinga suffered his worst spell at home in the last game leaking away 83 runs from his full quota of 10 overs Although, the Indians seem to have mastered his bowling for some time now, he can still be dangerous with his unplayable yorkers. Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews are the smart supporting pacers and their services in the bowling department are advantageous, especially during the third powerplay. Rangana Herath is the only spinner in the Sri Lankan bowling attack and Jayawerdene may like to try out a another spinner in the form of Jeevan Mendis.
The Indians showed in the last game that their current dominance in one day cricket is mainly attributed to their illustrious batting line up. Virender Sehwag who missed the Asia Cup earlier this year made his presence felt in the first ODI with a well paced 96 before being run out in a hapless manner. He can destroy the Lankan pace attack in the initial overs if he shows the same kind of form. Gautam Gambhir could not contribute in the opening game but he has always fired against the Lankans and will be eager to have a go at their bowlers this time. Virat Kohli is one man who has conquered all records and statistics of late and his innings of 106 in the last match was his 12th hundred from just 83 innings. The Indian vice captain now seems to own the ODI format and will again be the key batsman in the middle order. MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and even Irfan Pathan to some extent will share the responsibility of scoring at a brisk rate to provide finishing touches during the final overs. Rohit Sharma, who failed in the first game will be keen to make an impact this time around.
With Irfan Pathan delivering a promising performance with the ball in the first match, Dhoni is now almost certain to continue with two full time spinners. Pathan displayed accurate swing bowling and took two wickets giving away only 37 runs from his 10 overs. Zaheer Khan will test the Sri Lankan top order with the new ball and will also be the man Dhoni will look upto in the closing moments of the innings. Umesh Yadav bolwed well in the last game claiming the wickets of Chandimal and Sangakkara and also produced yorkers regularly but needs to control his over ambitious short deliveries that spoiled his figures in the end. Ravi Ashwin bowled very smartly and spun a web around Sri Lankan middle order at the most crucial time of the match, mixing up his deliveries very well and ending the match with impressive figures of 2-46. The other spinner Pragyan Ojha was taken on by Sangakkara and Perera and went for 44 runs from 6 overs, though he got the all important wicket of skipper Mahela Jayawerdene. Dhoni will also look to take utmost care in making his bowlers bowl 50 overs in the allotted time after narrowly escaping another match ban for slow over rate.
Players to watch
MS Dhoni: That vital no.6 position belongs to him and no other batsman can steer the innings as smartly as he can on subcontinent pitches. He will have the most decisive role to play if India chases.
K Sangakkara: He has anchored the Sri Lankan middle order very well and will again look to step out against the Indian spinners. He has the ability to stay at the crease for longer durations and can add big numbers to the scorecard.
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