Finalists clash in dress rehearsal
Match FactsTuesday, June 22, 2010
Start time 1430 (0900 GMT)
The Big Picture
The neighbourly affection between India and Sri Lanka knows no bounds. What was meant to be a ceaseless flow of riveting action between the two teams was rudely interrupted by an inspired Zimbabwe, who deprived India of a place in the tri-series final in Harare. But India bounced back in the Asia Cup, upstaging Pakistan to seal another meeting with their favoured rivals and restore the trend. Tuesday's contest, a dress rehearsal for the final, despite the monotony of what began in January last year, will be one that India will welcome. They are without Virender Sehwag, ruled out of the tournament due to a hamstring injury, and will want to achieve some stability at the top of the order leading into the final.
Sri Lanka have won their games with greater comfort, with their bowlers restraining Pakistan in the opening match and the batsmen, led by Tillakaratne Dilshan, dominating Bangladesh to prepare themselves well for the remaining two games. Both teams, however, have untested players and could try out their bench strength ahead of the final.
Form guide (most recent first)
Sri Lanka: WWWLW
Watch out for...
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli: Though relatively inexperienced, they have acquired a strong reputation in India's middle order and their responsibility has grown in the absence of Sehwag at the top. Both batsmen have had a quiet Asia Cup, following impressive performances in Zimbabwe, and now have the match they need to shape up for the big game.
Upul Tharanga: He has filled in admirably at the position vacated by Sanath Jayasuriya. Tharanga's scores in his previous six innings read 40, 27, 69, 72, 11 and 54, complementing the belligerence of Dilshan with an assured solidity.
Dinesh Karthik is Sehwag's replacement for the remainder of the tournament and is likely to open on Tuesday with Gautam Gambhir. India may be tempted to rest one of their seamers, possibly Ashish Nehra who has just recovered from back spasms. They have Ashok Dinda in the reserves as well as the spinner R Ashwin. Saurabh Tiwary is a candidate for the middle order, but the rest will be keen to spend some time in the middle ahead of the final.
India (possible) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Dinesh Karthik, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Harbhajan Singh/R Ashwin, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Ashish Nehra/ Ashok Dinda.
If Sri Lanka choose to try out their bench strength, they may consider resting Lasith Malinga and play allrounder Farveez Maharoof. Another possible change is the inclusion of Suraj Randiv for Muttiah Muralitharan, who may be given a break ahead of the final.
Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera/ Thilina Kandamby, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Chamara Kapugedera, 8 Farveez Maharoof, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Suraj Randiv, 11 Chanaka Welegedera.
Stats and trivia
- India and Sri Lanka are meeting for the 18th time since the start of 2009 in an ODI.
- The game is the 2999th ODI. The 3000th will be held on the same day, between England and Australia. Incidentally the same two teams played the very first ODI in 1971.
- Upul Tharanga is set to play his 100th ODI
"This is an important game for us. We don't take any game lightly. Obviously, if we win the match, we can go to the final with a better frame of mind."
Harbhajan Singh values the momentum India stand to gain if they win on Tuesday.
Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.