With the game against New Zealand rained out and the Kiwis still having a game in hand, the tie against India is very crucial for the Sri Lankans. They have to win to stay in the hunt for the final berth.
With continuous cricket being played on the Dambulla strip, rain has provided the much-needed break and the strip will be ready and should be a good one for the remaining games of the tournament.
India will try and do better after their win in the last match against the hosts. Although India were in a spot of bother, in the end, they managed to get to the total comfortably. With India’s recent record against Lanka and the win in the last game, they will go confidently into this match.
The Randiv issue, which was blown out of proportion, will hopefully have a positive effect on the Indians and it will be up to the Lankans to make sure they don’t come out of it a tentative bunch.
They did put up a different performance against the Kiwis in the rain-curtailed match, but India do have a psychological edge.
The Lankan batting approach needs a lot of re-thinking and they will have to make sure they have enough wickets in hand at the end to put up a big score.
The home team openers will have to play the new ball well, especially the first 8 to 9 overs because Praveen Kumar has been the best for India so far and both teams have struggled against him. His success goes to show that genuine swing bowling can still create problems for batters.
Sehwag’s good form will be a worry for the Lankans. He and Dhoni are the most dangerous batsmen. A lot of people will be watching Sangakkara closely; I must say Sanga has been a gentleman and a one-off incident should not be the yardstick to measure his contribution to the game. He will have to put the entire issue behind and come out firing on all cylinders in this important game, or else they will be psychologically outplayed by India.