Sri Lanka v India, 5th ODI, Pallekele August 3, 2012

Chance for teams to iron out creases

Match facts

Saturday, August 4
Start time 1430 (0900 GMT)

Big Picture

Sri Lanka handed over the series to India in Colombo with two failed attempts at defending the target but can end the series - this is also, surprisingly, their last ODI this year - on a positive note in Pallekele. They beat India in the second ODI in Hambantota and came close in the third ODI in Colombo, and if they get help from the cooler and cloudier climes of Pallekele, where India have never played, their medium pacers could be a handful.

However, in conditions that haven't favoured the bowlers, the difference between the two teams has been the batting. India have four batsmen among top five run-getters in the series to Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara, who is already out of the tournament with a finger injury. With Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene not firing, Sri Lanka's young batting - especially Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne - has lacked leadership to take full advantage of India's weakness in bowling. In the fourth ODI, India's part-time bowlers returned with the figures of 22-2-112-5 - a glaring example of where Sri Lanka lost their way.

Although India have already won the series, the problems that have plagued them in the past have surfaced again - Virender Sehwag remains erratic, Rohit Sharma's form has not yet returned and Manoj Tiwary is India's second most successful bowler in the series despite playing just one game. With a tough season looming, MS Dhoni would hope for some signs of improvement- and some clues to his best XI - along with a win in Pallekele.

Form guide

Sri Lanka LLWLW (Completed games, most recent first)

Watch out for...

Irfan Pathan came in as a replacement for Vinay Kumar in the series but has done well with both bat and ball. He scored a crucial 34 not out in a match-winning partnership in the third ODI, but more importantly, he has got the ball to swing. He has bowled with an economy of 5, which is the best among India's seamers, and has picked up three wickets.

Sri Lanka's fielding has consistently been the best among the Asian teams, but in the current series the fielders have dropped a number of catches at critical moments and they have also given a lot of extra runs in overthrows. In the previous game itself, the team conceded two boundaries when the fielders failed to backup shies at stumps.

Team news

MS Dhoni had success with his seven batsmen formula in the previous match, and could continue with the same, which would mean another chance for Rohit. Ashok Dinda has played two games without creating much impact and could be replaced by Umesh Yadav.

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

Angelo Mathews indicated in a press conference that fringe players might get a chance. It could mean a game for Chamara Kapugedara and offspinner Sachithra Senanayake, both of whom haven't played in the first four matches.

Sri Lanka: (probable) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 5 Lahiru Thirimanne/Chamara Kapugedara, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Pradeep, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Rangana Herath/Sachithra Senanayake

Stats and trivia

  • India's bowlers have had only three five-wicket hauls in the last five years in ODIs, worst among all Test playing countries. Sri Lanka have most in this period - 19.
  • MS Dhoni is 17 runs away from becoming only the sixth batsman to score 2000 runs in India-Sri Lanka ODIs.


"The numbers [Ashwin's figures] have not been bad; the ball is coming out really well and whatever I've been working on has also come out very well."
R Ashwin is satisfied with his bowling in the series.

"We've dropped quite a few catches in this series and I think that cost us the series. Especially, against the Indian batting line up, you can't drop that many catches."
Angelo Mathews blames the fielding lapses for the series loss.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo