India v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Mirpur January 9, 2010

India aim for final berth against familiar rivals

Match facts

January 10, 2010
Start time 1400 (0800 GMT)

Big picture

You heard it right. India and Sri Lanka are playing an ODI. Again. For the 21st time in less than 19 months. Not even a final. Nor has this been a back-and-forth rivalry that the marketing gurus might be interested in milking. Ever since their Asia Cup final win in 2008, Sri Lanka have been on the receiving end, thumped in three bilateral series, and also the tri-series final in Sri Lanka. The 12-7 scoreline in India's favour says as much.

In fact, any significance this fixture is likely to earn will be down to the next match, and whether Bangladesh can catch India on the hop twice in a row. If Monday's match between India and Bangladesh goes down the expected route, this one on Sunday will only take familiarity one step closer to contempt. India, though, will not want to leave it till the Bangladesh match, and Sri Lanka will like to keep that winning feeling going, something they have started to feel consistently after a long time.

On the other hand, if the captains feel adventurous - and Kumar Sangakkara is more likely to, because he is assured of the final berth - they could choose to bat first and get some practice of bowling with a bar of soap. Yes, the matches are being won and lost at the toss, but the teams will want to try and do all they can to reverse the result if they lose the toss in the final.

Form guide (last 5 completed matches, most recent first)

Sri Lanka WWWLL

Watch out for

Harbhajan Singh had a horrible day in the field against Bangladesh, dropping two catches and going for 56 runs in nine overs. That a game after he was the standout bowler against Sri Lanka. Which Harbhajan will turn up on Sunday?

Upul Tharanga has settled the debate as to who should be Tillakaratne Dilshan's opening partner in ODIs, displacing Sanath Jayasuriya. Now that he is assured of his place, perhaps for the first time in his career, Tharanga seems a completely different batsman. Thanks to his starts, Sri Lanka so far haven't even missed Dilshan in this series.

Team news

Nor are Sri Lanka likely to miss Dilshan against India. Because Dilshan is all set to return to action, having recovered from his groin strain. That should push Mahela Jayawardene, who scored a century while opening against Bangladesh, down into the middle order, where he will meet another centurion, Thilan Samaraweera.

Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt./wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Thilina Kandamby, 7 Thissara Perera, 8 Suraj Randiv, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Thilan Thushara, 11 Malinga Bandara

India could retain the XI that beat Bangladesh.

India (probable) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 MS Dhoni (capt./wk), 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8, Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ashish Nehra, 11 Sreesanth

Stats and trivia

  • Twenty of India's last 46 ODIs have been against Sri Lanka. Only 12 of those 46 have been outside the subcontinent. Their next most frequent opponent has been Australia, against whom they have played seven games.

  • Jayawardene averages 62.5 as an opener. Two of his 12 ODI centuries have come during his four attempts at opening the innings.


    "We were disappointed to lose the ODI series [in India] as we played some very good cricket there. Both the teams have played a lot recently and probably both knew each other inside out. I am looking forward to the match on Sunday."
    Mahela Jayawardene wants to set a few records straight.

    "Not a single frontline bowler was up to the mark. Only Yuvraj Singh bowled well. We cannot take Ravindra Jadeja as a frontline bowler, but he bowled well."
    MS Dhoni is not subtle in the assessment of his side's fielding effort against Bangladesh

    Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo