Having someone like Harbhajan Singh who can wield the long handle down the order is a bonus for any side. The offie has shown in the past his ability to launch the wild heaves in crunch situations and Saturday’s encounter against Pakistan was another example.
India have already qualified for the Asia Cup final, but Harbhajan refused to drop guard in the dead rubber against Sri Lanka. “The match is as important as the final. If we perform well in this match, it will send the message to the opponent that we are here to play good cricket and win,” he said.
Sri Lanka have performed excellently in their last two matches and a casual approach might hurt India. Lasith Malinga produced his maiden ODI five-for against Pakistan in the opener and Tillakaratne Dilshan played aggressively against Bangladesh. Both Mahela Jayawardene and skipper Kumar Sangakkara have been scoring runs and the duo has been unfortunate not to score centuries. Angelo Mathews has prospered in an all-round role and is the joint top-scorer for his side, along with Jayawardene.
Virender Sehwag’s absence will handicap India’s opening combination and there will be pressure on Dinesh Karthik to fire.