India and Sri Lanka lock horns in the first One-Day International (ODI) at Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium, Dambulla. After dominating the Test series, Virat Kohli’s men will be looking forward to repeating a similar performance in this series as well, beginning with this match.
India have recalled some familiar names back in the side, while some big names miss out. The exclusion of Yuvraj Singh from the squad was the talk of the town, but it was later revealed that he and Suresh Raina lagged behind in the Yo-Yo test held at the National Cricket Academy and that is the reason for them not getting picked. India also welcome star players Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah after they were rested for the West Indies tour, following their participation in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
What surprised everyone the most is the fact that young Rishabh Pant was not considered. it was felt that the Delhi left-handed batsman will be an ideal replacement for Yuvraj in the future, but the team management think otherwise
With the sort of form Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are in at the moment, they will continue to open the innings, with Lokesh Rahul coming in at No. 4. This means, there will be a tight competition between Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav for the No. 5 spot. With MS Dhoni at No. 6 and Hardik Pandya at 7, this Indian team certainly does not lack depth.
In the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel will get a look in. It is likely that Kuldeep and Axar will be preferred along with fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, which means Shardul Thakur might have to wait a bit longer for his international debut.
As far as the Sri Lankan side are concerned, they have received a major boost as their former skipper Angelo Mathews has been cleared to bowl, albeit, for 6-7 overs. Mathews did not bowl a single delivery in the Test series, which perhaps added to Sri Lanka’s woes.
Sri Lanka have a big reason to put up a much better fight in this series. If Sri Lanka win at least 2 games in the series, they guarantee themselves an automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. West Indies are their close competitors, but even if the team from the Caribbean manages to win their ODI against Ireland and complete 5-0 whitewash over England, they will not be able to qualify, provided Sri Lanka win their two matches against India.
Sri Lanka will not look to experiment too much with their side and pick their best possible XI. Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal is still not considered for limited-overs cricket after he was sacked for the Zimbabwe series. His absence is a great chance for a youngster to cement his place in the XI. The absence of Asela Gunaratne in the middle-order is a huge blow as well.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga (c), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Chamara Kapugedara, Thisara Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan
Head-to-head: Sri Lanka do not have a particularly good record against India. Out of the 150 times they have played each other, Sri Lanka have tasted victory just 55 times and have lost on 83 occasions. Sri Lanka have a slightly better record at home. They have won 27 out of the 56 matches against India. India, on the other hand, have won 23 matches in Sri Lanka. In the most recent encounter in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, it was Sri Lanka, who overcame India by 7 wickets, chasing down 322 with ease. Sri Lanka will look to take inspiration from that and secure a 1-0 lead in the series.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga (c), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Milinda Siriwardana, Malinda Pushpakumara, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Thisara Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando
TIME: 14.30 IST | 09.00 GMT | 14.30 Local.