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For all those wondering, Nidahas is a Sanskrit word which means Freedom. On Tuesday, that is, 7th March, India and Sri Lanka will lock horns to play the first match of the Tri Series with the third team being Bangladesh to celebrate 70 years of Sri Lankan independence. Despite that India is fielding a second string side, they start as favorites. It has never been easier to beat Sri Lanka on their home turf and the hosts would want to reaffirm that notion. Sri Lanka have done well of late in the limited Overs format. They won the ODI and T20I series in Bangladesh and will like to carry on the momentum. India, on the other hand, decimated the Proteas and would love to continue on the same path.
India - WLWWW (Most Recent First)
Sri Lanka - WWLLL
Sri Lanka would be enjoying the wins they gathered in Sri Lanka across the two limited-overs format of the game. 2017 was their worst ever year in Cricket as they faced defeat 40 times across all formats in the calendar year and getting back to the winning ways would have been heartening for the team.
Playing at home will certainly imbibe some confidence among the players, they’d still have to be wary of Indian strength. Angello Mathews has constantly been in and out of the side, thanks to his injury-prone body and will miss the first T20I. Niroshan Dickwella’s poor form has led to his downfall and he has been replaced by Kusal Perera for the entire series.
They have a pretty decent looking batting unit with the excellent amalgamation of youth and experience. Their batting revolves around Upul Tharanga and skipper Dinesh Chandimal with Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis capable of hitting the ball right from the word go.
Akila Dananjaya troubled Indian batsmen, especially Rohit Sharma, and he will be looked up to. Their pace attack will be led by Suranga Lakmal who impressed one and all with his accurate and intelligent bowling skills when the Lankans toured India a few months ago. Overall, Sri Lankan team looks similar to that of India’s as far as balance is concerned. Their batting looks well settled as compared to their bowling and it may come down to experience and nerves when the two teams meet on Tuesday.
WU Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis , Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, BMAJ Mendis, Akila Dananjaya, N Pradeep, PVD Chameera.
India may not look the same without their regular skipper Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and MS Dhoni, they are still a very strong side. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are one of the world’s best opening pair in the shortest format of the game. Rohit hasn’t got a great record in Sri Lanka and he’d itching to overwrite it.
The stand-in opening batsmen in KL Rahul is expected to play in the middle-order and the memories of him smashing the ball all-around the ground will still be fresh in the opposition bowlers’ mind. With Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, and Dinesh Karthik to follow, this Indian side is still could be a nightmare for bowlers on their day.
Indians might have to ponder over their bowling lineup with three of their regular bowlers missing. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be hard to replace considering that they’ve taken wickets both at the start and at the death. Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, and Yuzvendra Chahal are expected to form the backbone of the attack and a lot of rest on their young shoulders.
All in all, this Indian team, despite the absence of stalwarts, looks pretty good on paper. While their bowling looks a little thin and may crack under pressure, their batting certainly has the experience and power to even things out.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, SK Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, RR Pant, V Shankar, Washington Sundar, SN Thakur, YS Chahal, JD Unadkat.
Both the captains are expected to field first after winning the toss.
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Sri Lanka is known to have slow and low pitches and R. Premadasa is no different. It may not be a flat-deck as Chinnaswamy or Wankhede, but batting won't be difficult once batsmen are set. Teams generally prefer to chase in the shortest format and with slight chances of rain in addition to the dew factor, that path is likely to be followed.
The hammering which Sri Lanka received at the hands of the Indians will still be afresh in the fans’ minds. Can change in venue bring about a change in Sri Lanka’s fortunes? Well! It is certainly a tough ask considering the form Indians are in. With one of the World’s best opening pair and hard-hitting batsmen to follow right till the end, Indian batting still looks very strong. Rohit Sharma has been inspirational as a captain and will be looking for his fifth win on the trot. Considering the teams on paper, conditions, and, form, the Indians go in as firm favorites to take the first game of the series.