The big picture: India a strong contender
A few years ago, Sri Lanka was really pathetic in the ODI format, but look, now they are a bit better. Or at least that’s what we’re hoping for. In the last year, they have won six out of their 10 completed ODIs. Full disclosure, six of these matches were against Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. But then Australia also got a great win in the home series. In general, they are passing as a team on an upward trajectory.
The problem is that India definitely has a monster in its own house. Since the start of 2020, they have won nine of their 12 completed ODIs in the country (and what a strange reality that India have played only 12 ODIs at home in a span of three years, when there used to be a time when they At that time he would have played 12 matches against Sri Lanka alone.)
And let’s not talk about how the teams line up on paper. Because on paper, India beats Sri Lanka every now and then. Thankfully, the on-field rivalry hasn’t been so one-sided, at least in T20Is.
On the pace bowling front, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik and Washington Sundar will all be fighting for the same spot. If any of them was a Sri Lankan player, then there was no question of him.
India beat Sri Lanka on paper every time. This has happened often. But Sri Lanka too has its own way of defying its statistics and records.
(Complete matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka wllww
In the Spotlight: Another Kohli Masterclass Coming?
Virat KohliThe record against Sri Lanka is very poor. In 46 innings against this opposition, he has 2220 runs – second only to his tally against the West Indies, and only marginally so. He has eight centuries and eleven fifties against him, and a strike rate of 91, despite many of these matches coming on slow Sri Lankan tracks. The Indian may be the bright batting light in the galaxy right now, but few fear Kohli more than the Sri Lankan bowlers. He also scored an ODI century of 113 against Bangladesh in December.
There can be no question now that Sri Lanka’s limited-overs fortunes have changed since then Dasun Shanaka Became the captain. Mostly, the turnaround has come in the T20 format (hello, Asia Cup). But there are some semblances of revival in ODIs as well. The issue for Shanaka is that he has been a poor ODI player so far, averaging less than 25 with the bat, albeit with a healthy strike rate of 94, often coming on towards the late stage of an innings. He is in excellent form at the moment and would like to continue it in the ODIs as well.
pitch and terms
In an ODI played in Guwahati, in 2018, West Indies scored 322 for 8, then India achieved it easily in the 43rd over. The match is not expected to be disrupted due to rain.
Team News: Iyer or SKY in XI?
India XI (Probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (captain), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 KL Rahul (wk), 5 Suryakumar Yadav/Shreyas Iyer, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Akshar Patel, 8 Yuzvendra Chahal/Kuldeep Yadav, 9 Mohammed Siraj, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Arshdeep Singh/Umran Malik
Sri Lanka have some decisions to make on the seam-bowling front, but their top-order and spin attack should be properly organised.
Sri Lanka (Expected)ODIs: 1 Kusal Mendis (wk), 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Avishka Fernando, 4 Dhananjaya de Silva, 5 Charit Aslanka, 6 Dasun Shanaka, 7 Vanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Mahesh Thikshana, 10 Kasun Rajitha, 11 Dilshan Madushanka/Lahiru Youth
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf