About the Match
The second doDI between Sri Lanka and India seemed to be going down an all too familiar path before Akila Dananjaya bowled a dream spell and threatened to pull the rug from under the Indians. As things turned out, India had enough in the tank to take a 2-0 lead. Can Sri Lanka build on that and keep the series alive in the third ODI?
Akila Dananjaya came into bowl when the Indians had strung a century partnership together and looked to be cruising to a victory. In fact, when the first wicket fell, Virat Kohli felt confident enough to start experimenting with the middle order.
In a frantic period of 5 overs though, Dananjaya reduced India from 109 for no loss to 131 for 7. He took 6 wickets while Siriwardana took the other one.
It was exhilarating stuff and a throwback to the time when Sri Lanka used to be filled with players that could turn the game on its head. The Indians may be much better prepared to face Dananjaya before the next match but that does not take away anything from this performance.
Take that spell of bowling away, though, and Sri Lanka was every as bit as poor in this match as the previous one. A half decent start was thrown away and they could only manage 236 in their 50 overs. Injury to Gunathilaka and a suspension handed to Tharanga means that the batting will have a different look ahead of the third match.
Thirimanne will be brought back to open the inning and Chandimal will take his place in the middle order. These two have been in and out of the team too many times to offer any real hope of resurgence but Sri Lankan supporters can pray for the best.
We have seen enough of this Sri Lankan side to know that only DIckwella and Mendis look like playing an inning to take the game away from the Indians. Angelo Mathews is going through a run of poor form and that leaves the Sri Lankans very prone to collapses.
Maybe the injection of new players and the performance of Dananjaya will revitalize the Sri Lankans but we are highly skeptical of them winning even a single game in this series.
It will be very heartening for Virat Kohli to see that his team could recover from a horror collapse and still emerge winners. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar played an absolute blinder in the com[any of MS Dhoni who never looked ruffled even as wickets continue to tumble around him.
Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were dominant in their century partnership. These two, along with Virat Kohli at 3 have been getting so much time in the middle that the middle order is struggling to face any deliveries at all.
Kohli followed up on his promise to experiment as he sent KL Rahul and Kedar Jadhav up the order but both of them were done in by Danajaya. If the Indian think tank is really serious about giving these players some playing time in the middle then they must stick to the same order in this match as well.
There is also Manish Pandey waiting in this wings, a class player who will surely get a chance if India wraps up the series here.
The Indian bowling was once again impressive in this match with Bumrah leading the way with four wickets. Axar Patel bowled excellent lines to make scoring difficult but Yuzvendra Chahal struggled with his length once again.
The leggie has been guilty of dropping balls short in the two games and could be targeted by the Sri Lankans as the weak link of the bowling. He could also be swapped out in place of Kuldeep Yadav.
India is taking chances, trying new things and playing new players but they are still able to dominate the Sri Lankans. This is a clear indication of the difference between the two sides and why we think India might win this 5-0.
Pitch and Conditions
Pallekele served up a pitch that seemed tacky in the first half but became excellent for batting in under lights. We don’t think the surface will change in a couple of days and so the team winning the toss will try to bowl first for sure.
The weather forecast is encouraging but rain can hit anytime in Pallekele.
India to continue their winning streak.
Back India to win