Match facts

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Start time 1330 local (0800 GMT)

Big Picture

0:52
Sri Lanka aiming to restore pride

Where does the series go from here? The three matches so far have almost been carbon copies. India's top order gets runs, with Shikhar Dhawan leading the charge; Sri Lanka's bowlers threaten briefly before wilting; Sri Lanka lose wickets early in their innings, then after a short recovery, treat the batting Powerplay like a cliff to hurl themselves off.

It is not easy to work out what either team has to gain from the two remaining matches, so the potential rewards stray into the realm of records and statistics. For India, a 4-1 series win will allow them to retain their rank atop the ODI table, while a whitewash would send them two points clear of second-ranked South Africa.

Virat Kohli has more time to bed himself in as captain ahead of the Australia tour where he will lead in the first Test, while the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu and Akshar Patel can further strengthen their World Cup case.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have even more nebulous incentives. They can salvage some pride by not going down 5-0, but they will also seek to build momentum ahead of a home series against England, where their World Cup preparation begins in earnest.

Following the third loss, a frustrated Angelo Mathews said Sri Lanka could not afford to have their young players so routinely spurn opportunities to win places in the side. With new personnel now having been injected, he will hope the door stops revolving. Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne have come into the team with some form and match practice from an A-team tour, and Sri Lanka are desperate for them to indicate they are ready for World Cup responsibility.

The match will also be part of Eden Garden's 150th anniversary celebrations. Stamps featuring Cricket Association of Bengal, Jagmohan Dalmiya, and another of the ground itself, have been issued to mark the occasion.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
India:WWWWW
Sri Lanka:LLLWW

In the spotlight

Rohit Sharma will likely return to the top of the order after 10 weeks out with a fractured finger. With Ajinkya Rahane now having showcased his opening chops with centuries against England and Sri Lanka, Rohit will want to impose himself on return, to stave away the competition. He does have form on his side, having walloped 142 from 111 balls in the practice match against Sri Lanka, in Mumbai.

The mark of experience is often the ability to contribute to the team, even during a lull in form, and though Tillakaratne Dilshan has visibly been some way from his best in the series, he has struggled his way to some runs, hitting a 35 in the second ODI and 53 in Hyderabad. With Sri Lanka having so much trouble finding a reliable opening partner for him, Dilshan knows he is under pressure to provide stability to the top order.

Teams news

India's rejigged squad means Shikhar Dhawan, the series' top-scorer, will be unavailable for selection alongside wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, and Ishant Sharma. Rohit and Robin Uthappa are sure starters, and Stuart Binny could also find a spot as an allrounder. With Karn Sharma and Vinay Kumar being drafted in for the final two ODIs, India have quite a few options to tinker with their bowling attack. Uthappa will take the gloves, even though he has only kept wicket in eight List-A matches. He has regularly kept in the IPL, however.

India (probable): 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 Robin Uthappa (wk), 7 Stuart Binny , 8 Akshar Patel, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Umesh Yadav

Thirimanne and Chandimal have a good chance to step into the middle order, while Ashan Priyanjan may have run out of rope. Ajantha Mendis and Shaminda Eranga may also play, in order to shake up what has been an ineffective attack.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Kusal Perera, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene 5 Angelo Mathews (capt.), 6 Lahiru Thirimanne, 7 Seekkuge Prasanna, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Lahiru Gamage/ Shaminda Eranga

Pitch and conditions

Almost everyone, including the Eden Gardens groundstaff, have learned by now that a flat pitch means "bad news for the visitors". Another belter, with "no margin of error for the bowlers" is being prepared in Kolkata. A sunny day is forecast, and dew may be the only meteorological impediment.


Stats and trivia

  • If Sri Lanka win the last two ODIs, it will have been the first time they win more than one match in a bilateral series in India
  • If India win both matches, it will have been the first time they have whitewashed Sri Lanka since 1982.
  • Ajanthha Mendis has played more matches (17), and taken more wickets (32) against India, than against any other opposition. He averages 23.68 against them, and took 4 for 60 in their last meeting during the Asia Cup this year.

    Quotes

    "There have been times in the past when I've just been a part of the side - not leading - and you feel like: "Why is that not happening?" or "That could have been done". Captaincy gives me and opportunity to actually open up my vision and the ideas I have, and actually implement them on the field. I strongly believe in whatever I do on the field, and that's why more often than not, we're able to execute those plans."

    India captain Virat Kohli

    "We have had a 80% win percentage this year, before this series, and we've been a very consistent team. Three matches here have been disappointing, but it doesn't take away all the good work we've done through the year."

    Mahela Jayawardene wants everyone to look at the big picture

    Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando