India's bowling is Sri Lanka's chance
Match factsTuesday, July 24
Start time 1430 (0900 GMT)
In the latter stages of the first ODI, Sri Lanka's lower-order batsmen made a push towards the target of 315, but their attempt was too late. The hosts lost by 21 runs but that late charge revealed the fragility of India's bowling attack, which depends heavily on the batsmen to provide a cushion of runs. When the teams meet again in Hambantota on Tuesday, Sri Lanka's batsmen will want to time their acceleration better.
Bowling has been India's weaker suit for a while and Sri Lanka's opportunity lies in exploiting the rustiness that may linger after a six-week break. Apart from Irfan Pathan and R Ashwin, the other Indian bowlers were expensive in the first ODI, but Sri Lanka lost momentum when Kumar Sangakkara had to stabilise the innings. Zaheer Khan bowled some good balls, but also many easy ones. Umesh Yadav generated pace but lacked direction and Pragyan Ojha was worked around. Sri Lanka could take a cue from the way Thisara Perera attacked to plan their comeback.
India, on the other hand, will back their strong suit - the batting - to deliver consistently and make up for the weakness in their bowling.
Form guide(Completed games, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LWWWL
Watch out for...
In Kulasekara's absence, Thisara Perera will share the responsibility of leading the bowling attack along with Lasith Malinga. Perera took three wickets in the first ODI and also scored a 28-ball 44 that gave Sri Lanka a glimmer of hope during the chase. At No. 8, though, his skills may be underused.
After an indifferent IPL, Virat Kohli started the new season where he had left the old one. Four centuries in five innings - three of them against Sri Lanka - means the Sri Lanka bowlers need to find a way to get past him to test the rest.
Sri Lanka have included fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep in the squad as a replacement for the injured Nuwan Kulasekara but it is the left-armer Isuru Udana who is likely to make an ODI debut.
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 Isuru Udana, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Rangana Herath
India have a settled batting order, which allowed then to play a fifth bowler in Pathan, who bowled economically in the first ODI. Rohit Sharma squandered another opportunity, but India are unlikely to change much so early in the season.
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.
Stats and trivia
- The overall bowling averages of India and Sri Lanka in the last 12 months - 36.43 and 37.97 - are just above that of Zimbabwe in one-day internationals.
- Malinga had an economy of 5.36 in the last 12 months; against India, though, it was 7.52.
- Kohli's ODI average is 51.33, but it drops to 29.15 in 14 matches in Sri Lanka.
"I guess IPL has been a factor. The Indian players have played a lot against Malinga. But that doesn't mean that he is bad bowler. He can destroy any opposition on a given day."
Virender Sehwag on India's ability to play Lasith Malinga
"It was important for us to set up a platform and [so] Sanga [Sangakkara] was trying to build an innings. [But] We never had momentum going into the last 10 overs. We'll try to refocus and come back strong."
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo