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Onus on youngsters to lift Sri Lanka out of the pits

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Maharoof: SL look depleted, a turnaround will be difficult (2:27)

Farveez Maharoof believes India will extend their dominance in the second ODI in Pallekele, while Ajit Agarkar looks at possible team combinations for India (2:27)

Match Facts

August 24, 2017
Start time 1430 local (0900GMT)

Big Picture

If anything, the first ODI was even more of a pounding than the Tests had been. After Sri Lanka's batsmen had taken turns torching their own innings in quick succession, India appeared as if they could have doubled Sri Lanka's score in the fifty overs. Sri Lanka might not even have taken a wicket had Rohit Sharma's bat not got been lodged in some sticky Dambulla soil. Then, completing the embarrassment, the team's bus was held up by demonstrators, who demanded that Sri Lanka's cricket be pruned of politics, and voiced their raucous displeasure at the team. Sri Lanka Cricket has been unpopular in the past, but it's fair to say now that this particular board's reputation is in tatters - worse than ever before.

It is a tour of increasing ease for India, who were always favourites, but would not have expected their success to come quite this easy. Shikhar Dhawan has buffed his stats beautifully in the island, hitting two hundreds in the Tests, and now posting a rapid ton in the first ODI. Virat Kohli might also have moved to triple figures on Sunday had the target been large enough to accommodate it. And Sri Lanka's batsmen seem all too willing to lose wickets to whoever India throw the ball to.

In the first match, they surrendered to the left-arm spin of Axar Patel, and the decidedly part-time stylings of Kedar Jadav. Beyond runs, wickets and rankings points, what are India themselves gaining from the contest? How will feasting on a meek Sri Lanka serve them as they build towards the 2019 World Cup?

Sri Lanka have now returned to the site of their worst Test defeat in the island in the recent Test series (and in recent years), and must summon up the resolve to raise all three disciplines of their cricket out of their present shambles. The fielding hasn't been talked about so much recently because the batting and bowling have been so bad, but with Upul Tharanga's reprieve of Shikhar Dhawan, they have dropped no fewer than 63 catches (across formats) since the start of the year.

Where, usually, when a team is struggling, the senior players might be expected to lead the way with good performances, it is Sri Lanka's youngsters - Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka and the like - who seem most capable of lifting Sri Lank out of their pit.

Form guide

Sri Lanka LLLWW(completed matches, most recent first)
India WWLWW

In the spotlight

Nine matches, seven wickets, an average of 61.71 and an economy rate of 5.93. There lie Lasith Malinga's returns since his ODI comeback this year. What these numbers don't tell you is that Malinga has had no fewer than eight catches dropped off his bowling (at least half of them easy chances), but still, he is very reliant on his wiles now, where once he also had the option of blasting batsmen out with raw pace. Given the inexperience of the remaining bowlers, Sri Lanka need Malinga to spark the attack into form. It has often been said that thanks to the IPL, no one has seen more of Malinga than India's batsmen, but it is also true that Malinga knows those batsmen better than anyone else.

While one limited-overs legend wanes, a bowler that has benefited from Malinga's mentorship aspires to fulfil a similar role for his team. Jasprit Bumrah hasn't had the best 2017 so far, perhaps, claiming only 11 wickets at 41.81, but took 2 for 22 from 6.2 overs at Dambulla, and the Sri Lanka innings didn't even get to the death-overs stage, where Bumrah ordinarily prospers. Having had an excellent start to international cricket last year, Bumrah will now hope to lock down a place in the XI for that 2019 campaign. His yorkers are already pinpoint, but a little more menace with the new ball could potentially see him become one of the best ODI bowlers around.

Team news

Sri Lanka have said that changes are on the way, and this generally means the attack is about to be switched up. Akila Dananjaya could replace Lakshan Sandakan on the spin-bowling front. Thisara Perera's place could also be in question following his modest performance with ball and bat in the previous match. Milinda Siriwardana seems likeliest to replace him, provided Sri Lanka are happy to field three spinners.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 2 Danushka Gunathilaka, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Upul Tharanga (capt.), 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Chamara Kapugedara, 7 Milinda Siriwardanan 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Akila Dananjaya, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Vishwa Fernando

Kohli also hinted that India would try a few things in this series, but perhaps they will hope to win it first before any experiments are carried out. Their XI might be very similar to that which played at Dambulla. No one really had a poor game.

India (possible): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt.), 4 KL Rahul, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal, 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Pitch and conditions

The Pallekele pitch can often be seam-friendly under lights, but that does not mean spinners cannot be very effective there. As ever, with this stadium, there is a chance play will be interrupted by rain.

Stats and trivia

  • India have now won 15 of the last 19 ODIs between these two sides. For the year, they have won nine games and lost four.

  • In 10 ODIs against Sri Lanka, Shikhar Dhawan has hit 757 runs at an average of 84.11 and a strike rate of 96.67. Among teams he has played more than one match against, Sri Lanka are easily his favourite opponent.

  • India, meanwhile, are Lasith Malinga's least-favourite opponent. He averages 43.88 and has an economy rate of 5.99 against them.

  • The match will be Sri Lanka's 800th ODI.

Quotes

"I havent had a look at the wicket yet. If the wicket is similar to Dambulla I don't see any reason to change the team just after one game. As I said, it was a near perfect game for us… I wouldn't say perfect because we came back into the game beautifully and then consolidated it with the bat. We looked really sharp in the field as well. I am very happy with how we went in the first game, and then we will decide after having a look at the wicket."
India captain Virat Kohli

"Malinga is a leader in the change room. We don't look purely at what he can do with the ball, but also look at what he does for the young bowlers, and we have got a young mob of them. Stats may show that he hasn't performed like the Lasith of three years ago, but what he does add in value is immeasurable. His stats would also look different if we held the catches off his bowling."
Sri Lanka interim coach Nic Pothas