After the 3-0 Test series sweep against Sri Lanka recently, India will look for a similar result when they take on the islanders in the first ODI at Dambulla on Sunday. Virat Kohli and his men like to play limited-overs cricket and they will aim nothing but a 5-0 sweep over the islanders. Sri Lanka will eye revenge after the humiliating Test series whitewash. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of India vs Sri Lanka first ODI at Dambulla on Sunday.
Strong batting and bowling unit: India have always been a strong batting unit with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma opening the innings. India will look to experiment with the batting order, bringing KL Rahul at No 4. Then, they have the consistent Manish Pandey who might have to sit out thanks to the batting heavy India line-up. It will also be a big Test for MS Dhoni as he has been given the ultimatum by selectors to perform or perish. They also have good quality T20 bowlers who have done well in the shorter format of the game. They have Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Axar Patel, YS Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, proven performers in shorter formats.
Winning momentum: Kohli has momentum on his side as he has led India to series win over Sri Lanka. They are coming from few impressive performances in ODIs in recent past. They reached the Champions Trophy final, won the series against West Indies, and are looking in great position to win the ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Squad: Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Ajinkya Rahana, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, YH Chahal, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.
Complacency: India had lost to Sri Lanka in the 2017 Champions Trophy despite putting up a 300-plus score. Hence, India will take Sri Lanka lightly at its own peril. Sri Lanka will come hard at India after the Test series debacle. India need to be wary about being over-confident when they take on Sri Lanka in the first ODI at Dambulla.
Sri Lanka strengths:
Quality limited-overs batsmen: The same batsmen who failed to deliver in Tests against India will shine in ODIs against Kohli and Co. as they have been brought up on limited-overs cricket. Kusal Mendis had struck a match-winning 89 in the win over India in 2017 Champions Trophy. Upul Tharanga who was all at sea in the Test series will lead Sri Lanka and will open the innings and is expected to give good start. Angelo Mathews will look to come good to give some respite to the Sri Lankans after the Test series debacle.
Return of Lasith Malinga: His toe-crunching Yorkers are still as deadly. Lanka missed him in the Test series. But Malinga does not play Tests anymore. But he will eye revenge in the ODI series against India. The return of Malinga will be a big boost to the Sri Lanka camp.
Sri Lanka have been mediocre: In both batting and bowling, Sri Lanka have been mediocre in their performance. It was visible in the Test series against India who have an invincible hold over the Lankan bowling now.
Squad: Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Milinda Siriwardana, Malinda Pushpakumara, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Thisara Perera, Wanidu Hasaranga, Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chammera, Vishwa Fernando
Prediction: India have been the better team of the two. They have the batting and bowling power to knock out any opponents. Sri Lanka have struggled in the recent past in all departments. India should have it easy against the Lankans. Our vote goes to India.
Possible winner: India