India v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Perth February 7, 2012

Struggling World Cup finalists meet again

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Match facts

February 8, Perth
Start time 1220 (0420 GMT)

Big Picture

Just over 10 months have passed since that Wankhede night, last April. Within that period, the fates of the two teams that brought the best out of each other in that memorable World Cup final have nose-dived in bizarre style. India have been mercilessly stripped of their No. 1 Test ranking, the sunset on their golden generation of batsmen hastened by eight successive away drubbings. But their one-day outfit still holds promise, with the energy of fresh legs and the power of broad bats, for the moment at least, masking the worry of poor techniques on quick pitches.

Sri Lanka have had it worse. Finishing second-best in two successive World Cup finals is a tragedy in itself, but even that pales in comparison to what has transpired since. They have endured series after wretched series, home and away, against Australia, Pakistan and South Africa, with no silverware to show for their efforts except in the Twenty20 format. Their players haven't been paid by a board that is now bankrupt. Battered on the field and off it, Sri Lanka are already under their third captain since the World Cup. Mahela Jayawardene led them in the 2008 edition of the CB series, and his reluctant return to the musical chair gives rise to the uneasy feeling that Sri Lanka haven't progressed in four seasons.

Both teams are desperate for the familiarity of better times, and their first encounter since Wankhede will provide them just that. No two sides have played each other more often in ODI history, especially in recent years - 34 of their 129 clashes came between 2008 and 2010. This series kicks off another glut of games between these thick foes, with the Asia Cup and a bilateral series in Sri Lanka to follow in quick succession. Establishing early supremacy in Australia could prove integral in determining which side heals better in the coming months.

Form guide

India LWWLW (Most recent first)
Sri Lanka WWLLL

In the spotlight

MS Dhoni and Virender Sehwag haven't played together in an ODI since the World Cup final, though they have individually featured in 11 and four games, respectively. When Sehwag's been fit, Dhoni has been rested. When Sehwag was expected to play, he was 'rested' in the first game of this series. Murmurs of dressing-room disagreements between India's captain and vice-captain mean their internal dynamics will be scrutinised when they take the field in Perth. Signs are that Sehwag will play - you normally don't 'rest' a batsman who smashed the highest score in ODI history in his last outing.

India wouldn't have forgotten Thisara Perera who thumped them to all corners of Mumbai in the end overs of the World Cup final. It wasn't the first time Perera showcased his big-hitting skills through the leg side, and it wasn't the last. More recently, he cracked five sixes in an unbeaten 69 off 44 balls to help Sri Lanka chase 300 against South Africa. His late-swinging yorkers could make him effective at the back-end of Sri Lanka's bowling innings too.

Team news

India won the last edition of the CB series by playing to the conditions, as opposed to their traditional strengths. Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth, all played big roles with the new ball, while spin was relegated to a support role. MS Dhoni went the other way on Sunday, and the move backfired when India's three inexperienced spinners came unstuck in a rain-reduced game. The Perth track will be more amenable to pace, and Dhoni will consider bringing in Pathan for Ravindra Jadeja, whose 2.4 overs leaked 41 runs against Australia. Sehwag is expected to play, with Gautam Gambhir making way at the top of the order. Zaheer Khan or Umesh Yadav could be in line for a call-up too, since India could do with an extra yard of pace.

India: (possible) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Irfan Pathan/Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Vinay Kumar, 10 & 11 Praveen Kumar/Umesh Yadav/Zaheer Khan

Injury kept Jayawardene out of the latter stages of the ODI-leg of the South Africa tour. He will resurface in the middle order on Wednesday. On form, Angelo Mathews should make way, but the axe is likely to fall on Lahiru Thirimanne who hit a match-winning 69 in the final ODI in South Africa.

Sri Lanka: (possible) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Chanaka Welegedara/Dhammika Prasad

Pitch and conditions

The WACA strip was zippy in the Test match, and is expected to behave similarly, but it would require bowlers with real pace to make that count. The conditions in Perth are dry and hot, meaning the pitch has cracks to go with its green tinge. The teams will have an interesting time zeroing in on their bowling units.

Stats and trivia

  • India hold the advantage against Sri Lanka in ODIs, with a 68-50 head-to-head record. They also have a 2-1 advantage in games in Australia.
  • Only one batsman has scored over 3000 runs against one particular team - Sachin Tendulkar against Australia (3060). If he gets 18 runs on Wednesday, he would have repeated the feat against Sri Lanka.

Quotes

"I think they haven't played really well in the Test series. That's a plus point for us. [But] They are a different team when it comes to the one-dayers. We are up for it and we are ready to go."
Angelo Mathews isn't taking India lightly

"[On] Any day, any team can beat anybody."
Much like his batting, Virender Sehwag keeps his predictions for the series simple

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on February 10, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    @Al_Bundy Cricket is the team Game many ocassion your great inning get noticed by hidden brilliance of other team members in the Team,Ponting,Richards and Miandad are match winner no doubt but when they were at their peak they had the best Bowling line up in their side unlike Tendulkar Who always denied the luxoury of being part of the side containning troops of World class Bowler.When you have Fearsome attack it reduces much pressure on the batting but if your bowling is average The pressure directly falls on batters.Kindly look at the stats with Bowler of calibre of Marshall,Garner,Holding,Robert,Wasim,Waqar,Aqib,Mushtaq,McGrath,Warne,Gilespie,Lee any team of Capable of defending the modest Target too where as When India batting every Indian fans hopes to score should be some where around 275 to be competative.There were so many occassion where India fails to win after scoring 250+ while WI,Aus,Pak manage to win by defending mere 150

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 9, 2012, 23:24 GMT

    SRT may or may not be comparable to Don Bradman, but I know that he is not comparable to Ricky Ponting, Viv Richards, or Javed Mianded. They were match winners who could (and can) single handedly win matches for their country. Forget about winning, our so-called GOD of cricket can't even save a match. That's why Gavaskar will always be considered the best Indian batsman. He may not have won many matches, but a number of times he single-handedly saved India from certain defeat. As Imran Khan said - Sachin should have retired after World Cup 2011 on a high. It's better to leave while there's still some respect for you.

  • dummy4fb on February 9, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    @ Rooboy We all know the difference between Avg 99 and 55 but let me remind you both the batsman are borned in diferent era Tendulkar debut in International Cricket after more than 40 years after Bradman retirement .When Bradman were playing There havent been that much amount of Pressure,Expectation the media,where the Cricket hasbeing played in front handful of spectators addition that he mostly played against England in particular and South Africa,He hadnt visited Subcontinent to play on Turner against Quality spin bowling in those days which is still a major Challenge for the batters down Under even Today.Were as sachin has played every oppositon against Every attack and in every condition.In the First 10 years of Intnl Cricket he carry the burden of Entire nation in his shoulder were India labelled as one man team.There is media.Technology in Cricket too where minute flaws are highly exposed.llike Sachin Don Never played ODI,T20.So both are equal in their respective places

  • dummy4fb on February 9, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    @WKLANKA, i GUESS YOU ARE MORE INDIAN BASHER RATHER THAN SRI LANKAN SUPPORTERS WHY ARE U PUTTING YOUR WORDS STRONG ON SRI LANKAN SUPERIRTY ON BASIS IN PERFORMANCE OF BOTH THE TEAMS IN ENGLAND, AUSTRALIA AND SOUTH AFRICA RESPECTIVELY,YES INDIA PLAYED BADLY OF LATE COMPARATIVELY MUCH MORE THAN SRI LANKA IN RECENT SIX MONTH NO DOUBT,BUT IF WE MAKE AN OVER ALL COMPARISON INDIA HAVE BEEN WAY AHEAD OF TWO,THEY WON WORLD CUP TWICE COMPARE O SRI LANKAN ONCE,THEY WERE DOMINANT AND WINNING POSITION BUT HAVE SHARE THE 2002 CHAMPIONS TROPHY WITH LANKAN WHICH WAS WASHED OUT IN RAIN,INDIA HAVE WON THE WORLD T20 CUP IN 2007 SRI LANKA NONE,INDIA WON THE TEST MATCH EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD SRILANKA YET TO REGISTER SINGLE TEST WIN IN INDIA AND AUSTRALIA SINCE LAST 30 YEARS,JAYSURIYA IS AN OVERRATED ,SELFISH CICKETTER DONT COMPARE HIM WITH SACHIN.LOOK AT JAYSRIYA RECORD HE ONLY BLASTED WEAK INDIAN TEAM DURING HIGH PHASE OF HIS CAREAR HAVE U REMIND US ANY OF HIS GREAT KNOCKS AGAINST AUS,SA,PAK,ENG

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 8, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    @satish619chandar : Whether Sachin calls for a substitute or not is debatable. What is not debatable is that - he is a poor fielder. Ponting and Sachin are of comparable age - but is their fielding comparable? Ponting fields like a tiger prowling the point region, while our Big 3 look like sheep being taken to a slaughterhouse.

  • satish619chandar on February 8, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    @josh2david : Sachin calls for substitute most occasions? I think you are either too critical of Sachin or not watching matches itself.. He uses substitute for very short breaks only on the field usually unless injured..

  • dummy4fb on February 8, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    dhoni days over now...he needs to step back as captain...whats wrong with msd...he was one of the best captain till 2009..but then started doing mistake one fafter another...1.when opposition is in trouble he goes defensive and allows oppositon to build partnerships by giving singles easily 2.when some one get hit badly he tries to stick with tht guy for next 2-3 matches so that india can get out of tournament or loose next 2-3 matches(exmple.jadeja in wt20 2010 &2009 and recent aus test series is biggest example) 3.he doesnt surprize opposition like he used to by changing order and team 4.now in aus he is playing with all his spinners at mcg??which was the reason ind lost 1st odi 5. last but not the least after getting thrash by aussies he prefer to play both ashwin and jadeja that too against side tht plays spin well and tht too at WACA??????talented yadav n irfan warming bench when side is playing on waca ..i used to be msd captaincy fan but now he is worst than sammy :)

  • dummy4fb on February 8, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    The good news is Thirimanne in.

  • dummy4fb on February 8, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    india is v good one day team nd hv lot of chances to win this match.Only thing india can not match with Sri lanka is BRAVERY. Sri lankans r v brave nd great fighters nd this is their plus point

  • dummy4fb on February 8, 2012, 3:29 GMT

    you can watch it live on www.espnstar.com

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