Their pride dented by the embarrassing loss to Zimbabwe in the lung-opener, a jolted India will hope to revive their campaign against Sri Lanka in the second match of the cricket tri-series in Bulawayo tomorrow.
It was hardly the start Suresh Raina would have hoped for in his debut as captain, as India lost by six wickets to the hosts yesterday with 10 balls to spare. Missing their regular stars, India were given a rude shock by the Zimbabweans who chased down a rather stiff target of 285 with consummate ease.
Indian bowlers let down the team but the batting was not too impressive either and had it not been for Rohit Sharma's breezy 114 and Ravindra Jadeja's 61 after a top-order collapse, getting to 285 would have also been a difficult task.
"We need to work on our bowling and fielding department to come back against Sri Lanka," Raina said after the match. Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay were always going to find it difficult to replicate the flying starts that India are so used to with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir at the top. The middle order looks alright with Raina, Rohit and Jadeja in good nick. The bowling is, however, a worry as the team found out against Zimbabwe. Umesh Yadav and Ashok Dinda failed to either take wickets or stem the run flow against lowly side while R Vinay Kumar proved expensive.
Raina minced no words in expressing his disappointment after the match. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have also fielded a young team and have rested key players, prominent among them are regular skipper Kumar Sangakkara and the in-form Mahela Jayawardene. Tillakaratne Dilshan is leading the side without having the services of senior players like Sanath Jayasuriya and Lasith Malinga. All-rounder Angelo Mathews is Dilshan's deputy on his maiden assignment as captain for an ODI series. Muttiah Muralitharan, who was ruled out during the World Twenty20 due to a groin injury, is also not there in the side.
The new-look team features greenhorns like all-rounder Jeewan Mendis and left-handed batsman Lahiru Thirimanne. The trio of opener Upul Tharanga, middle-order batsman Chamara Silva and fast bowler Dilhara Fernando, who were ignored for the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies, are the prominent names in the squad.
It seems an evenly-matched contests where two inexperienced sides face off but given the opening loss to Zimbabwe, India can hardly afford to relax. After all, a tour meant to test India's bench strength could well become an embarrassment if the young side fails to rise to the occasion.