After being outplayed by Chigumbura’s men, Suresh Raina’s young India will need to lift themselves up considerably against the Sri Lankans in the second match of the Zimbabwe tri-series. It will take a huge effort for India to upstage their sub-continental enemies, while Sri Lanka will be hoping to bank on India’s low morale.
Raina’s boys were found wanting in all departments of the game against Zimbabwe, and the lack of intensity was pretty much evident. Barring Rohit Sharma’s maiden ODI century and Ravindra Jadeja’s brisk fifty, the team was listless throughout.
While all batsmen need to be more sensible in their shot-selection, the relatively experienced players like Raina and Dinesh Karthik should take up the responsibility of holding the batting together. Jadeja did redeem himself with an allround performance, after a forgettable World Twenty20 and now he needs to carry on the good work while the team will need Yusuf Pathan and Raina to convert starts into good score against the wily Lankans.
Raina’s biggest challenge though would be to inspire a formidable performance from his novice pace-battery of Dinda, Vinay Kumar and Umesh Yadav after their thrashing at the hands of Zimbabwe batsmen. The game against Sri Lanka will be a test of character and temperament for these young pacers.
Spinners did a decent job in the first match but their real challenge will come now, when they will be up against the spin-relishing Lankan batsmen on the flat Bulawayo track.
The Indians must also need to be more watchful and active in the field and between the wickets. While Murali Vijay took ages to make his ground before eventually falling short, Virat lost his wicket going for a non-existent run. A missed run-out chance by Dinda also hurt India in the last match, and the team really needs to pull up their socks big time.
Despite missing seniors like Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Malinga, the Tillakaratne Dilshan-led team looks stronger on paper than India’s. Though most of their batsmen, including the skipper haven’t had the best of time of late, it is their godsend opportunity to come back among runs, against the young bunch of Indian bowlers.
If openers Dilshan and Tharanga take the new-ball bowlers to cleaners, that will set the match nicely up for the team. With anchors like Samaraweera and Silva followed by aggressors like Mathews and Kapugedera down the order, they have what it takes to put up a big total on the board.
The bowling too looks good with pretty seasoned medium pacers in Kulasekara Thushara and Fernando, while in Mendis they have a fine tweaker.
It will be an interesting game between the two teams that despite knowing each other really well, will face some unfamiliar individual opponents.
India: Dinesh Karthik (wk), Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina (capt0, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, Amit Mishra, Ashok Dinda, Vinay Kumar, Pankaj Singh/Umesh Yadav
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Mathews, Chamara Kapugedera, Chamara Silva, Thilan Thushara, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis