Sri Lanka Cricket agreed to be the BCCI's emergency cash cow in agreeing to the ongoing series, and two matches in, even the India team has begun to eye Sri Lanka like predators would livestock: as an easy meal. So far, India's fledgling cricketers have had the better of their opposition. They have a chance to close out the series on Thursday.

As the hosts prepare for the third ODI, their captain already has his sights set on greater things. By the time the World Cup rolls around, India are intent on rising to the apex of their ecosystem. That journey begins by keeping Sri Lanka pinned to the ground, Virat Kohli said.

"What we're trying to work on now is being ruthless, rather than letting situations drift," he said. "In the past we've done things like get eight wickets, then let the last few players get away with it. Collectively, we've decided to keep the foot on the pedal and not let the opposition get away with anything. If you want to impress, you have to address the issues after a win and improve on the small areas. That's the kind of hunger and vision that we're trying to instill into this team now. We want to be ruthless. We want to win by a big margin, and not be casual in any situation."

Winning by a big margin is all India have done so far. They trounced Sri Lanka by 169 runs in the first ODI then sauntered to Sri Lanka's target with six wickets in hand in the next game. Sri Lanka are visibly underdone, and have been some way from their best in this series, prompting doubts over whether either team is achieving meaningful goals in this series as they look ahead to the World Cup. Kohli, however, said India's World Cup preparations were making headway, despite the dearth of quality from their opposition so far.

"It doesn't really matter what the other team is feeling like or what their strengths and weaknesses are. We're more focused this time on what we want to do, rather than who we're playing against. If we just improve the areas of concern that we have, oppositions should not matter. That's the kind of culture and belief we're trying to build into this team now - that we're so confident in our own group that we don't look away from it.

"If we are confident in our ability, we should be good enough to handle all the situations and all kinds of bowling attacks in the world. We're using this series and the tri-series in January as a chance to really test ourselves, and create targets for ourselves, rather than worry about the opposition."

Having been so dominant in the first two matches, the hosts might have been tempted to test even more of their inexperienced players, but Kohli suggested such a move may be counterproductive. India are already fielding several second-string players, in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma.

"With the youngsters in the team - we have to keep the team close to the combination we're trying to take to the World Cup. Letting those guys play is better than trying to experiment at this time. It's about trying to find the perfect combination to be 100% confident that these are the guys who will do the job for us at the World Cup."

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