India v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Fatullah February 27, 2014

India, Sri Lanka look to renew relationship


Match facts

Friday, February 28
Start time 1400 local (0800 GMT)

Big picture

India and Sri Lanka have been guilty of indulging each other in the past, they are the most frequently paired-up opponents in ODI cricket, but this one promises to be different. For starters it has been seven months since they played against each other. More importantly they are playing in a tournament whose every match is crucial by the way of a difficult qualification for the final. Only two teams out of five progress, and there is no way any game can be taken lightly.

These two are young, fresh-looking teams. So gone out should be the contemptuous familiarity that used to fill up the air around an India-Sri Lanka contest. For the first time in a long time, each team has established players whose main body of work hasn't come against the other. Shikhar Dhawan has played only four matches against Sri Lanka. Dinesh Chandimal has played 14 out of 78 against India. There are new players coming through such as Chaturanga de Silva and Ambati Rayudu. In the likes, however, of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, and Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga, this is a mere renewal of vows. In a new setting, under new captains, just to add a little spice to the relationship.

A familiar script should run through this coming back: both the teams will be eager to chase. India love chasing, and dew is never too far in the evenings. Sri Lanka, who won their first match batting first against Pakistan, know India are different. They will want Indian bowlers, their weaker suit, to be in the middle when the key parts of the match are being played out.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka WWWWW

In the spotlight

News that R Ashwin has made significant changes to his action is hardly news at all. People can read through such sentences without pausing to even think because Ashwin keeps playing around with it so often; it could be a sign of either excessive confidence in his basic skill or excessive fidgetiness, but it fails to make people wait with bated breath to see what is in store. In India's first match of this Asia Cup, though, Ashwin stunned even the most jaded of Aswhin observers. For arguably the first time in his career, he was photographed wearing full sleeves on a cricket field. And he hadn't just made significant changes to his action, he had got himself a completely new one. Wonder what is coming next.

One man who doesn't need to change or fiddle with things is Lasith Malinga, who took five wickets in 14 balls to derail what looked like a routine chase. That, though, was Pakistan, who are known to make routine difficult. Against India his career average of 27 inflates to 42, and economy rate jumps from 5.15 to 5.95. The last time he played India he went for a comfortable 58 runs in a match that required a last over for 202 to be chased down. His Hobart harassment is still the most stunning of all. Malinga will want to correct this poor record against India.

Team news

India don't like to play around with their combination, but Varun Aaron's poor control in the first match might make way for Ishwar Pandey.

India (probable) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli (capt.), 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Varun Aaron/Ishwar Pandey

Sri Lanka will want to keep the winning combination going.

Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Kusal Perera, 2 Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt.), 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Chaturanga de Silva, 9 Sachithra Senanayake, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Suranga Lakmal

Pitch and conditions

These are fairly good batting conditions and a lightning quick outfield so a huge total can't be too far away.

Stats and trivia

  • R Ashwin needs two strikes to reach 100 ODI wickets. If he does this in this match, his 77th, he will be the seventh-fastest Indian there. Irfan Pathan, at 59 matches, is the fastest Indian to the mark. Harbhajan Singh, the sixth-fastest, took his 100th in his 76th match.

  • This is the 144th ODI between India and Sri Lanka. No two teams have played each other this often. Pakistan-Sri Lanka is second at 138, and Australia-West Indies third at 135.


"We always bank on him in pressure situations. He's been our best bowler for so many years, and we always throw the ball to him, and he knows exactly what he has to do."
Angelo Mathews on Lasith Malinga

"Joey [Dawes, the bowling coach] is really working hard with the bowlers in the nets, and that is really crucial. On this wicket, I think the bowlers did really well. Bhuvi and Shami later on bowled wicket to wicket, and it was not easy to hit that length." "
Ajinkya Rahane doesn't mind India's bowling

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lalith on February 28, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    SL should have bat first. India will easily get whatever score SL put on.

  • mano on February 28, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    INDIA and PAKISTAN, please dont get into unwanted arguments over this match. The beter side on the day will win. hope for a good game. sri lankan fan

  • ESPN on February 28, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    Agarkar was the fastest to 100 wickets in ODI not Irfan Pathan...

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    Very difficult for India to win Asia Cup. The bowling attack is below Afganistan Standards. Afgan bowling looked word class in front of Indian bowling. Able to restrict Pak , less than what India could against Bangladesh. Our batting after Rahane does not have experience or confidence . Only dew can save us, so win as much toss as possible and bat second.

  • GAURAV on February 28, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    Why medium pacer for an out and out fast bowler. Would have accepted a spinner. But it strengthens the batting more. 340 on cards against mediocre sri lankan attack, even with no experience in our batting.

  • Tahir on February 28, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    SL have a wonderful chance here being in Bangladesh for many weeks now and already have faced one of the stronger opposition already in pak. I foresee another kohli classic as indian bowling will set him another 300+ chase.

  • Android on February 28, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    it's gonna be tough day for Indians lets hope our bowlers sticks to wicket to wicket delivery and binny May play majore role in this condition good luck guys

  • B on February 28, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    @Blade-Runner, Did "Sanga" walk out edging the ball. The whole world knows which team had displayed "Unsporting" action in UAE test by bowling "Round the wicket" pitching a feet outside the leg stump and having 9 fielder on the "ON" side. Well, that may be very sporting action in SL dictionary, right?

  • Sourav on February 28, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    Ashwin is quite late reaching 100 wkts.He started superbly but faded eventually.. But Shami promises to break Irfans record and take 100 wkts in no more than 55 matches! Lets wait and Watch...

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    Instead of Dhawan Binny may be included in the squad. Dhawan is continuously out of form in the ODI Series. He didnt shined well with Newzealand and not with Bangladesh too. If Binny comes in He can bowl for a few overs. Regarding Bowling part once again it proved its weakness. Aaron went too expensive against Bangladesh. More over he is injured. Hence Ishwar can have his Debut game today. Will Kohli consider this??? Its still a big question mark why Mishra being in the Squad but not included for any matches.