Sri Lanka v India, 1st ODI, Hambantota

India's break ends, Sri Lanka's grind extends

The Preview by Siddarth Ravindran

July 20, 2012

Comments: 126 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Saturday, July 21
Start time 1430 (0900 GMT)


Umesh Yadav at a practice session in Hambantota ahead of the first ODI on Saturday, July 20, 2012
Umesh Yadav returns to strengthen India's pace attack © AFP
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Big Picture

Yet another India v Sri Lanka series is upon us. While the Indian team has racked up its frequent flyer miles with regular trips to Sri Lanka over the past few years, they start this series in an unfamiliar location. The stadium at Hambantota, a port town in southern Sri Lanka, was built for the World Cup and India haven't played a game there yet.

The ground recently hosted a couple of Twenty20s during Pakistan's tour and, if those matches are anything to go by, the bowlers should enjoy themselves. With Zaheer Khan back spearheading the attack, and Umesh Yadav providing the pace, India's bowling looks in better shape than it did in their previous ODI series, the Asia Cup in Dhaka.

One advantage India will have over the home side is that the team comes in with six weeks of rest, a rare luxury in recent years. On the other hand Sri Lanka, especially their IPL players, have been playing almost non-stop since their previous home season began last August. With the SLPL starting days after this series ends, and the World Twenty20 following soon after, Sri Lanka's players have a while to go yet before they can think of a rest.

Form guide


Sri Lanka WWWLL (Completed games, most recent first)
India WLWWL

Watch out for...

In the 15 months since last year's World Cup, Virender Sehwag has played only nine ODIs due to a combination of injuries, the controversial rotation system and being rested. In those matches, he blasted the record-breaking 219 in Indore, but hasn't otherwise crossed 30.

Sri Lanka's batting order has undergone plenty of changes over the past few months. Will they again push Jayawardene to the top of the order or stick with Upul Tharanga, who had a poor series against Pakistan? And if Jayawardene takes a middle-order place, will it be his usual position at No. 4, or will he go one spot lower as he did against Pakistan?

Team news

One of the questions India will have to address is whether to play Irfan Pathan as an allrounder at No. 7, or go in with a specialist batsman at that position. If they do pick a specialist batsman for that position, it will likely be Manoj Tiwary, who has spent plenty of time on the bench over the past few months. Dhoni hinted that they will pick Irfan for the first game. "He gives us the liberty of playing with five specialist bowlers," he said. "We can play two spinners and three seamers because Irfan can also bat."

India: (probable) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 5 Rohit Sharma, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Pragyan Ojha

Sri Lanka have experimented with a whole lot of spinners over the past couple of years, but are still to zero in on a permanent slow bowler for their limited-overs side. The squad for this series includes Jeevan Mendis, who impressed with bat and ball in the one match he got against Pakistan, and Rangana Herath, who has cemented his place as lead spinner in the Test side but isn't yet as secure in the shorter forms.

Sri Lanka: (probable) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 6 Lahiru Thirimanne, 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Rangana Herath

Stats and trivia

  • Upul Tharanga averages 37.12 against all teams in ODIs since the start of 2010, but only makes 11.76 an innings against India in that period.
  • Lasith Malinga leads the ODI wicket-chart for 2012, with 36 scalps.
  • Virat Kohli's ODI average of 50.56 puts him fifth in the all-time list

Quotes

"We have had the match practice and the guys are in pretty good form, we will try and continue that. For the Indians, it's a different story, they have to get back to a rhythm. On the other hand, they are fresher than us after us going through six months of continuous cricket."
Mahela Jayawardene think a break from cricket isn't necessarily a blessing

"[Managing Zaheer's workload] is important but I don't think we need to think about it from the very first game. We need to also get him match-fit."
MS Dhoni is aware India's injury-prone pace leader needs to be used wisely

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (July 21, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

SL is getting hammered on this FLAT PITCH. Ithink INDIA will win this first ODI in FLAT PITCH KING TROPHY.

Posted by adithyacric333 on (July 21, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

GO INDIA..........!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by SLWJ on (July 21, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

MEN IN BLUE ( SRI LANKA) is ready 2 Hunt MEN IN LIGHT BLUE (INDIA)....

Posted by   on (July 21, 2012, 8:25 GMT)

Another IND-SL series!!!!..Its too much...n already can see rivalry between da two sides of fans!!!..Its HORRIBLY gud!!!..As n Indian I want india to win...n indians surely seem to be better prepard....but in da way i just want to see gud cricket....

Posted by   on (July 21, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

@ Kavindeven : u r rit.....sri lankan players r so boring....

Posted by   on (July 21, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

All da best Lions.... Time 2 hunt 4 the 2nd target after defeating pakistan in its mission to regain the top spot in ICC rankings.... !!

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (July 21, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

It is time to start the series for FLAT PITCH KING TROPHY.

Posted by RKNETTIMI on (July 21, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

best wishes n gud luck for all Indian players, I Hope Virat will Make big scores in this series. n also Irfan will show his talent & ability

Posted by   on (July 21, 2012, 7:55 GMT)

India will get no.1 rank in ICC ranking

Posted by Romenevans on (July 21, 2012, 7:50 GMT)

Yet another hopeless series against Sri Lanka....would be better to play against Ireland. I'm so bored of watching our players playing against these boring lankans...aren't we all so tired of watching Kappugedhra, Mahela and all....

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