Sri Lanka tri-series 2010 August 8, 2010

World Cup the focus in leisurely tri-series


In its dual role as commercial hub of the North Central Province and site of the holy Golden Cave Temple, a UNESCO world heritage monument, Dambulla has long attracted a varied set of visitors. In 2010, the town seems out to add aficionados of the one-day game to that bunch, laying out 14 ODIs for them in fewer than three months, a feast even Sharjah didn't offer during its salad days as a cricketing venue.

The tickets are cheap, the weather is reasonable, and the pitch isn't one of those featherbeds which make bowlers despair over their choice of career, but bussed-in school kids made up a chunk of the sparse crowd during the Asia Cup in June, and things aren't likely to be too different for the upcoming tri-series.

The players involved won't be bothered by that, though. The teams will be using the tournament to figure out their combinations for next year's World Cup in the subcontinent. India and Sri Lanka had talked of building up to cricket's showpiece tournament during the Asia Cup but could not zero in on a settled batting order. The tri-series will be New Zealand's first one-day tournament in five months, and gives several of their newcomers a chance to test themselves in conditions alien to those at home.

For what it's worth, the tri-series could also cause a major reshuffling in the one-day rankings. Australia are runaway leaders with a 14-point lead, but the next five teams are separated by only seven points. India are second, but that spot could be taken by either New Zealand (now fourth) or Sri Lanka (now sixth) by the end of the tournament.

Teams will find it simpler to capture that second spot if their captains win the toss often. The floodlights at Dambulla are a bit dodgy and, more importantly, the pitch assists bowlers more under lights than in the afternoon, making the toss more vital than it should be. Sri Lanka had been the dominant team in the league phase of the Asia Cup, but they lost the toss and the final partly due to the lavish movement the Indian bowlers extracted from a previously benign track.

In a time when three-day gaps between Tests are the norm, even if teams have to travel to a different venue, the tri-series follows a leisurely schedule despite being played entirely in Dambulla. There's a two-day break between each match, giving teams ample time to visit the many archeological heritage sites in Sri Lanka's famed Cultural Triangle.

Sri Lanka

The home side is the only one close to full strength and should start as favourites. After looking good for much of their previous two series, Kumar Sangakkara's team finished poorly in both and were left with only the moderate reward of a shared Test series, something Sri Lanka will want to redress.

Their batting order is settled till No. 5, but the Sri Lankan think-tank is still figuring out their best players for the remaining slots. With Thilina Kandamby having fallen out of favour, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Kapugedera and the recalled Chamara Silva are battling for two places. The absence of Muttiah Muralitharan means the tournament is a chance for the spinners Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath to make cases for a permanent place.


Sri Lanka must be among MS Dhoni's favourite destinations for one-day cricket: his captaincy record in the country is four titles in four tournaments. Adding a fifth could prove difficult, though, because India are without four first-choice players - Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan - which leaves Dhoni with a very young team: 11 members of the squad are 25 years or younger. The good news for him is that most of the youngsters have played plenty of cricket in Sri Lanka and are familiar with the Dambulla pitch as well.

The pace attack, which was ineffective during the Tests, is beefed up by the return of Ashish Nehra and Praveen Kumar, but India's slow-bowling combination will be interesting to watch. Pragyan Ojha had a successful Test at the P Sara Oval, but with Ravindra Jadeja making the XI for his all-round skills, will India go in with two left-arm spinners (in addition to the part-time bowling of Yuvraj) or will offspinner R Ashwin get an extended run?

New Zealand

New Zealand Cricket has smartly lined up matches in all three World Cup host nations in the run-up to the 2011 tournament. The absence of match-winners, such as Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder, means New Zealand are a long shot for the tri-series title, but with so many players with so little experience of the subcontinent, they could be the team that benefits the most from the tri-series. The other plus for Ross Taylor's side is that, while the other two teams have only a few days and no matches to switch from Test to one-day mode, New Zealand have tuned up for the tri-series with two convincing warm-up wins in Sri Lanka.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kovilan on August 10, 2010, 8:18 GMT

    I still can't understand why Sri Lanka is persisting with Chamara, Kapu, Fernando and Ajantha Mendis.They are clearly holding the entire team and good youngsters behind.Chamara and Kapu were hopeless from the start and i am tired of seeing them being given chances over and over again.They are just a waste of time.Chandimal scored a century in a handful of matches against India and Jeewan Mendis has done well with both bat and ball.It's time to throw in these two into the side if Sri Lanka are to mount a serious challenge on next years world cup.Randiv has proved himself in tests and was Sri Lankas best spinner/bowler in the third test.If that is not an indication of the talent lying on the sidelines, i don't know what is!

  • Alok on August 10, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    @ sheruace21 : Well , Ravindra Jadeja is a quality cricketer , he is bowling well in ODIs. The only problem with hm is that he is a bit low in confidence while batting. Adding to that he is a great fielder. We need to have players who can bat , bowl and field well . So lets give him one more chance.

  • Irfan on August 10, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    Vimalan you dont understand cricket or you feared Sachin? you're telling he makes game boring? ooh, come on, i dont know from which country you are, but its almost a crime & sin to tell these to Sachin. India should try Kohli to open and Ashwin at 7, he already steady the inngs in his first ODI with valueable 38. Toss remain the main factor.

  • Alok on August 10, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    Well , I think that India is the favorite to win the Tri-series. But they have to keep in their mind the conditions in Dambulla. The weather would definitely help the seamers.

    Nehra would be the trump card for India along with Praveen Kumar. Its better for India to try out some youngsters but a series win is also very important regardless of World cup preparation. Cheers Alok

  • vikram on August 9, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    Every one day team needs all rounders and because of the regionalist who is the chief of selectors we dont have our best allrounder Irfan Pathan in the side and will never have him as long as Srikkanth is on selection team

    The good part about the opener is that the most expensive one day bowler of all time Ishant is injured ,the bad part is Mithun will be in team are you telling me that Mithun/Nehra are better than Pathan

    for people who say that Pathan should not be in the side ,please do this one thing ,look at the stats of Pathan ,Sreesanth and Ishant over last 5 years or just look at the most recent IPL,look bowling fast and only bowling fast is not the objective ,you have to know how to vary your pace too and be accurate ,so please look up the facts before you comment

    Srikkanth has made a mockery of Indian cricket team

  • RAm on August 9, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    I still do not understand India persisting with Ravindra Jadeja in the team, it like having dinesh mongia before...I have no idea why these guys hav been picked, y not give chance to pathan brothers instead :-O

  • John on August 9, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    Stupid decision taken by srilankan selecting committee by taken Chamara Silva, between Domestic & international cricket there is big differences, chamara silva is a carbon copy Indika da seram, who is playing well in domestic cricket and poor in international cricket. Overall look chamara's batting performance in last international matches. Practice matches with new Zealand also he failed, how he will play in real matches.we need young players like Suresh raina ,Rohith Sharma & Virat kohili, Please find a good young hittable player in all over the srilanka, except Dilshan,mahela & sanga we can't see any standard level player who can raise a good inning. And again taken that "No Ball company" Dilhara Fernando , Even this selected poor team my 11 players are Batmans- Tharanga,Dilshan,Sanga,Mahela,Kapugedara/Samarawira,Mathwes Bowlers- Tisara,Randiv,Kulasekara,Malinga,Mendis/Rangana

    By wining 5 matches including final we can reach to 2nd position guys, do or die guys!

  • Vimalan on August 9, 2010, 13:20 GMT

    Thank God, Sachin is not playing this series. Otherwise I would end up watching this another boring series between these teams.

  • Amit on August 9, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    I guess India has got this as the best opportunity to test its bench and I would love Indian team experimenting with new players at different slot. An ideal team will have Sehwag opening with Kohli ( and not Karthik, as we all know what Karthik can contribute with bat in ODI and allow a youngster in middle order), followed by Raina at 3, Rohit at 4, Yuvraj at 5, Dhoni at 6, Jadeja at 7, Ashwin at 8, Praveen at 9, Mithun at 10, and Nehra at 11. Later in series one can rest Test batsman like Raina can be rested to include Tiwary to see what he is made off. Similarly Jadeja can be exchanged with Ojha if Ashwin and Praveen combined can do what Jadeja does with bat! Though knowing Dhoni and Kristen I do not expect them to be innovative enough and play a safe team rather than to test which wud mean karthik in opening, jadega in allrounder slot nd ojha as specialist bowler with new talents warming the bench!

  • Aditya on August 9, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    There is nothing good coming out of this for India. They have a packed schedule ahead and should be resting there players. Oh yes, but it is not about the players, but about making money not matter at what cost. Its high time we have former professional cricketers running BCCI. SAURAV GANGULY... time for your second innings at India's captain.. a much bigger role that before..

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