Sri Lanka v India, Tri-Series, 5th match, Harare

Jolted India in must-win situation

The Preview by Sriram Veera

June 4, 2010

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Match Facts

Saturday, June 05, 2010
Start time 0900 (0700 GMT)


Angelo Mathews goes downtown during his 52, Basnahira North v Kandurata, Sri Lanka Cricket Inter-Provincial Limited Over Tournament, Colombo, February 6, 2010
The impressive Angelo Mathews is in great all-round form © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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The Big Picture

And so here we are at that stage in a multi-nation tournament where we wonder, 'Hold on, haven't we been here before'? India face Sri Lanka in a must-win encounter for the nth time in a multi-nation tournament.

On the eve of this tourney Suresh Raina said that his team didn't have any weaknesses. Seriously? India's performance in the last ODI against Zimbabwe was one of the more befuddling efforts in the recent times. The openers - especially M Vijay, as Dinesh Karthik managed to end up with a decent strike-rate - seemingly meandered without any purpose on a wicket that didn't have any demons in it. Even Raina was moved enough to make his displeasure known in the post-match ceremony.

India's problems should have been its inexperienced bowling attack but the batsmen too have blown hot and cold. Not much was expected of the bowlers, especially the seamers, but the batsmen have the potential to play better than they have so far. And the think-tank's strategy has been puzzling.

In their previous game against Sri Lanka when Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who were involved in a match-winning partnership, gestured to the dressing room that they wanted to take the Powerplay; they weren't allowed. If they had taken that Powerplay, they might well have earned a bonus point. And of course it was in the same game that Raina forgot to take the bowling Powerplay and was apparently reminded of his error by an Indian commentator.

In Wednesday's game against Zimbabwe, after setting a low target, Raina had well-spread out fields instead of attacking. To bounce back from such a dismal performance is going to be a tough ask but then India had thumped Sri Lanka without breaking a sweat just a few days ago.

Sri Lanka too haven't been without problems. In the first game, they couldn't post a good enough total and their bowling looked pretty ordinary. In the second, they didn't have to work too hard as Zimbabwe never turned up. In the memorable words of Zimbabwe's new coach Alan Butcher: "frankly today we were rubbish". Zimbabwe indeed were rubbish that day and Sri Lanka would not know whether they improved after their ordinary outing against India or whether they were made to look good by Zimbabwe's poor effort.

Form guide (most recent first)

India LWLLW
Sri Lanka WLWLW

Watch out for...

Virat Kohli averages over 50 in his brief international ODI career. He has been consistent in the opportunities given to him and has looked pretty solid in this tourney. Even in the game against Sri Lanka where Rohit ended up with a ton, it was Virat who played the more solid knock and laid the foundation.

Angelo Mathews has impressed with how quickly he has matured in the international circuit. He has been quick to gauge a situation and tailor his batting to the requirements of the match situation. And he has always come across as an intelligent bowler.

Team news

India (possible) 1 Naman Ojha, 2 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Suresh Raina (capt), 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Amit Mishra, 9 Ashok Dinda, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Abhimanyu Mithun.

Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt.), 3 Dinesh Chandimal, 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Chamara Silva, 6 Chamara Kapugedera, 7 Thissara Perera, 8 Suraj Randiv, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Dilhara Fernando, 11 Ajantha Mendis.

Stats and trivia

  • Thissara Perera has played six of his eight ODIs against India. All his runs have come against India and at a strike rate of 154.66

  • Amit Mishra has struggled in the ODIs: He has taken eight wickets at an average of 47. His best spell - 3 for 40 - came against Sri Lanka. Mishra's team-mate Pragyan Ojha has played 9 of his 11 ODIs against Sri Lanka and has picked up 12 wickets at 28.08.

    Quotes

    " We are not getting a good partnerships from the openers. We have to learn from it. They [the openers] didn't get runs in last two games. "
    Suresh Raina is not chuffed with his openers

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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