India vs Sri Lanka: Can Virat Kohli break his record of ODI tons vs SL? 5 key battles
Ahead of India’s five-ODI series against Sri Lanka starting Sunday, a look at the five key player battles to watch out forindia vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 19, 2017 15:04 IST
Virat Kohli-led India will hope to complete their terrific run down south when they take on Sri Lanka in a five-match ODI series, starting August 20. The visitors won the Test series 3-0.
Sri Lanka are currently ranked eighth in the ICC ODI rankings and need to win at least two matches to earn a direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup. Even a single victory might seal the deal for them as the West Indies, the only other contenders for the spot, would then have to win their one-off tie against Ireland and all the five matches against England.
However, given the kind of situation the team is in at the moment, the islanders would not just want to earn direct qualification, but would also look to put up a better show compared to what transpired in the three-Test series. Here’s look at the five key battles to watch out for -
Virat Kohli vs Lasith Malinga
The clash between the two prolific cricketers will be an interesting one to watch out for. Kohli, who scored a century in the first Test, would want to have a few knocks to show for as his three other innings accounted for just 58 runs. Malinga, on the other hand, is an experienced customer who knows exactly what the Indian skipper has up his sleeves.
Kusal Mendis vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar
The performance put up by the home team in the Test series was nothing but shambolic. Yet, there were a few positives for them in the name of Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne. Mendis struck a fantastic ton in the second innings of the Colombo Test, albeit his side was trailing by 439 runs.
The islanders would hope that he continues to play in the same manner but the Indians will be aware that he has a particular weakness against pacers and has fallen to them on four of the last six occasions. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar having the ability to swing it both ways, it might not be an easy task for the Sri Lankan No. 3.
Angelo Mathews vs Hardik Pandya
Both of them bat lower down the order, come in as the first change in bowling and have often been handed over the duty to bowl at the death. Hardik Pandya, who recently struck his maiden hundred in Test cricket, would want to build on his role as a handy all-rounder while Angelo Mathews would be well aware of the kind of responsibility he has to shoulder for the team.
Upul Tharanga vs Kuldeep Yadav
With five wickets in his debut Test on foreign soil, Kuldeep Yadav would be booming with confidence as he heads into the ODI series. With Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja being rested, Kuldeep should be an easy pick for the selectors. With his natural ability of taking the ball away from left-handed batsmen, Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga might face a tough time facing the 22-year-old.
Shikhar Dhawan vs Lakshan Sandakan
In his last five knocks against Sri Lanka, Shikhar Dhawan has notched up three centuries — two in the recently concluded Test series and the other in the Champions Trophy clash. Dhawan has been in a superb form since the Indian Premier League (IPL) and would look to continue to bat in the same manner. However, he would try and avoid facing Lakshan Sandakan, who has the knack of troubling left-handed batsmen.
First Published: Aug 19, 2017 13:00 IST