About the Match
India finally batted first in the last match and made 375 runs which most experts felt was a little short of where they could have ended up. Sri Lankan suffered its heaviest defeat in terms of the number of runs at home and are now 4-0. Is there light at the end of this long and deep tunnel that Sri Lanka are in or is India going to waltz to a 5-0 scoreline?
It was a little sad to hear Lasith Malinga talk about a ‘missed generation’ of players, lack of experience in this side, the poor state of first class cricket as well as the uncertainty surrounding his own career. Sri Lanka is a proud cricketing nation that up until a few years ago had been regarded as one of the toughest to tour.
Clearly, fans and supporters have to realign their expectations from this transitioning cricket team that has been pummeled by India so far. Nothing that Sri Lanka has tried been successful. There have been three captains in this series, the top-order has been changed, the bowling attack has been changed and even the selectors have resigned en masse.
All that has remained constant is the manner of defeat. Crushing and absolute.
That being said, there were a few positives for Sri Lanka from this match. Angelo Mathews scored a fighting 70 and Siriwardana continued to score some runs as well. If Dickwella and Mendis can get their act together in the last game, Sri Lanka might be able to post a decent total in the series.
The Sri Lankan bowling has come in for plenty of flack since it has posed next to no challenge to the Indian batsmen thus far. Mathews was the pick of the bowlers taking two wickets but his pace was extremely poor.
The only way Sri Lanka can be competitive in this match is by scoring a huge total or if the Indians collapse as they did in the second match. Hoping for the opposition to slip up is not the best strategy going into a match but that is what Sri Lanka has been reduced to.
We cannot remember any other instance where India was so supremely dominant over a major test playing nation while playing away from home. They must be congratulated for keeping the intensity up even when the challenge from the opposition has been lacking.
Three changes were made to the last side and India still did not miss a step. Manish Pandey played another excellent innings to put pressure on Kedar Jadhav while KL Rahul missed another opportunity to score runs. Ajinkya Rahane must be feeling seriously impatient at having to wait outside the eleven but that may continue as the team management believes his place is at the top of the order, not the middle.
An unchanged eleven from last game with maybe Ajinkya Rahana getting a go is likely for this game. Virat Kohli scored the easiest of his 29 hundreds and Rohit Sharma added a second on the trot in this series. Shikhar Dhawan has now missed out for the last few matches and he could be due to score in this one.
Dhoni continued to score runs but is still not playing with the freedom or consistency that he was once associated with.
Shardul Thakur made an impressive debut in the last match as he made good use of the new ball under the lights. It will be interesting to see him bowl against stronger opposition because we feel he is currently a little too one-paced for international cricket.
Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Hardik Pandya all bowled well but Axar Patel looked a little off color in the last game. All the boxes are currently being ticked off by this Indian team and we fully expect them to enter the last match with the intention to dominate once again.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch in Colombo was the best one for batting so far and the same may be the case in this match as well. There was some movement for the bowlers under the lights and so the team winning the toss will want to bat first.
The weather is expected to hold up for most of the match but the threat of a shower is never too far away in Sri Lanka.
There is nothing to suggest that India will be stopped from winning their last ODI match of this tour.
Back India to win