Today marks the beginning of Sri Lanka’s attempt for improved fortunes, while playing India, at Dambulla. Today’s game-format offers a significantly better chance of Sri Lanka, who visit the hosts ready to save face and recover their image after being white-washed in their last Test series performance; but conditions, and home-support could prove too much for the visitors.
After a battering during their last confrontation, Sri Lanka have been trying to get their confidence back on board, and captain Upul Tharanga appears to have done a relatively decent Jacks or Better of doing so; the format change is another factor that could help the Sri Lankan’s bring their best game to the match, and a fit team, comprising of Wanidu Hasaranga, Milinda Siriwardana, and Thisara Perera offer tremendous value to the team, ensuring they – at least come with the skills to beat India.
Whether they do or not depends on whether Lasith Malinga’s return brings the team together, or further alienates them from their previous winning-ways, and the pressure is on. Angelo Matthews – the teams main bowler – will be put under the most pressure, as he is tasked with minimizing India’s run-count opportunities.
We’ll likely see Akila Dananjaya start again of Lakshan Sandakan, due to his stellar performance in their last match against Zimbabwe, and due to Matthews set to resume the bowling, we may see Tharanga look to extend the batting, by starting Chamara Kapugedera, rather than – what would normally be an easy-decision; Milinda Siriwardana.
Juldeep Yadav and Axar Patel look set to be the main spin options, although it’s not like Kohli isn’t without options; he can choose between Shikhar Dhawan, or KL Rahul to join forces with Rohit Sharma, and he can always fall-back on Ajinkya Rahane, who we’ll likely see on the bench.
In their last 150 meets, Sri Lanka have bagged 55 wins against India, although their record away from home is slightly less-impressive. India are coming to today’s match with a 11-3 record over their last 14 encounters, although it’s worth pointing out that at Dambulla, Sri Lanka do boast a 7-4 record…
That could be largely irrelevant, however, as the last time these two teams played one another at this ground was back in 2010.
With India the clear favourites from the bookies points of view, it may be a safe bet to stick with the hosts and take odds of around evens – although at 11/4, it’s hard not to be tempted to have a punt on Sri Lanka. Their best team is out starting today, and with a LOT to prove from their last match, they’re likely to be in a great position to defeat the hosts.
Six powerful batters on each side will ensure the match is exciting and long-shot ridden, and cricket lovers are in for one of the most exciting games of the year so far!