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The Preview by Sidharth Monga
December 26, 2009
The visitors, though, will be playing for much more. They came here with the strongest Sri Lankan squad to have toured India. The final balance sheet will give them reasons aplenty to feel bitterly disappointed: they are yet to win a Test in the country, or an ODI series. What the balance sheet won't show is how well they managed despite a plethora of injuries to key players and how they could easily have been 2-0 up despite having to chase 415 and 302 in the first two matches. Having lost Muttiah Muralitharan, Angelo Mathews, Thilan Thushara and Chanaka Welegedara to injuries, this was not as bad an effort as the scoreline would suggest.
After the fourth ODI, Sangakkara said this was the most competitive they had ever been in India, and yet they came up short. Sangakkara will want to leave with good memories, a final stamp of competitiveness in Delhi, a good performance and not a whimper to remember the tour by.
Form guide(last five completed matches, most recent first)
India - WWLWL
Sri Lanka - LLWLL
Watch out for...
Sachin Tendulkar: What Tharanga has been to Dilshan, Tendulkar has been to Virender Sehwag. For a second fiddle, 216 runs at 72 is not a bad job. Having rested for the tri-series in Bangladesh, Tendulkar will want to make the most of his last ODI innings in a while.
India: (probable) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 MS Dhoni (capt/wk), 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Pragyan Ojha, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Sudeep Tyagi, 11 Ashish Nehra.
Their opening problem solved, Sri Lanka are left looking for one more middle-order mainstay to go with Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Chamara Kapugedera, Thilan Samaraweera and Jayasuriya have all disappointed there, and that will be the only major decision to make. Thissara Perera and Suranga Lakmal should retain their places, while Lasith Malinga will be under pressure to hold his.
Sri Lanka: (probable) 1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt/wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 and 6 two out of Sanath Jayasuriya, Chamara Kapugedera and Thilan Samaraweera, 7 Thilina Kandamby, 8 Thissara Perera, 9 Suraj Randiv, 10 Lasith Malinga/Ajantha Mendis, 11 Suranga Lakmal.
Pitch and conditions
Stats and trivia
"It's very important that youngsters like Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja get going and play 18-19 matches ahead of the World Cup in 2011. If we get the full strength side we can win the World Cup."
The future is bright if seen through Virender Sehwag's eyes.