Sri Lanka face must-win battle
Match FactsSunday, August 22, 2010
Start time 14.30 (0900 GMT)
Rain and the lack of a bonus point have left Sri Lanka facing the possibility of an early exit from a multi-team tournament at home for only the second time. They have made the finals of every competition involving three or more teams in Sri Lanka, barring the Bank Alfalah Cup in 2003, a topsy-turvy tri-series in Dambulla which bears plenty of resemblance to the current tournament.
Much of the talk in the build-up to Sri Lanka's do-or-die league match against India has been about the unseasonal rains in Dambulla. A third consecutive day of showers disrupted both team's practice plans. India had to return to the hotel almost immediately after reaching the ground on Saturday morning due to a steady drizzle which continued till noon.
Fans and even some of the players may be sick of the amount of times India and Sri Lanka have played each other over the past couple of years, but the rivalry has been largely free of rancour over the period. This is the first time the teams will play each other after the Suraj Randiv no-ball controversy, providing an edge to the contest. Dhoni insisted that though "whatever happened was bad, the incident must be forgotten" while Sangakkara talked of his team taking responsibility when they make mistakes, before adding, "we don't try and hide behind the press or hide behind our board."
Form guide(most recent first)
Sri Lanka: LWLWW
Watch out for...
Yuvraj Singh has recovered from a mild attack of dengue and is set to return to India's middle order. It has been a forgettable year of injuries and controversies for Yuvraj, and he will be itching to turn the headlines back to his batting abilities.
Nuwan Kulasekara has quietly worked his way into becoming an integral part of Sri Lanka's one-day outfit. He doesn't have express pace but accuracy, a big incutter and the odd delivery that holds its line make him a difficult opponent. "Kule has a bad game once in ten games or 15 games," said Sangakkara praising Kulasekara's consistency.
With Yuvraj returning, either Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma is likely to be sidelined. There probably won't be any other changes from the XI that easily beat Sri Lanka.
India (likely) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Dinesh Karthik, 3 Rohit Sharma/Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Praveen Kumar, 9 Pragyan Ojha, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Ashish Nehra
Suraj Randiv is available for selection after serving his one-match suspension, and should find a place ahead of Ajantha Mendis. Chamara Kapugedera's place could also come under the scanner, with Thisara Perera available as an alternative.
Sri Lanka (likely) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Chamara Silva, 7 Chamara Kapugedera/Thisara Perera, 8 Suraj Randiv, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Dilhara Fernando/Rangana Herath, 11 Lasith Malinga
Pitch and conditions
No one is sure how the pitch will behave after the relentless rain over the past three days. MS Dhoni said his team's strategy would depend on "how much it rains, and the duration of time the covers are on". Wet weather is forecast for Sunday as well, though not the sort of thunderstorms that wiped out play in the Sri Lanka-New Zealand match.
"We have mainly batted under lights when top-order batsmen find it difficult to score consistently, it is important that once a batsman is set, he should carry his innings through to help the rest of the batsmen coming in."
MS Dhoni stresses the importance of making a big score after getting your eye in in the difficult batting conditions of Dambulla
"He's probably the most versatile bowler we have, the best thing about Lasith is, he knows what he's doing. You don't have to tell him anything. You give him the ball, he'll tell you what he's trying to do. It's easy to work with him."
Kumar Sangakkara on his bowling spearhead
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo