Buoyant India press for double whammy on ailing Sri Lanka

Shikhar Dhawan and Ishan Kishan were the architects of India's rout of Sri Lanka in the ODI series opener.

Aryan Surana

Sri Lanka have had little breathing space to dwell upon the ignominy of the series opener as India come whacking on the door again, this time with an insurmountable 2-0 lead up for grabs. Perhaps, it's in the hosts' best interest that they hit the park without much ado; a larger slice of leisure would have worsened their inferiority complex.

The first game panned along expected lines, with India outshining the islanders in all three departments and barely breaking a sweat in the process. Spin twins Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav cherished a long-awaited reunion with four wickets between them while Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav subjected Sri Lanka to a leather hunt. Yet, amid the turbulence unpacking around him, Shikhar Dhawan operated in an oasis of calm, shunning the glory shot for a muted tap wide of cover to seal the shellacking.

Silver linings come at a premium for Sri Lanka, given their administration and cricket itself lies dumped in the doghouse. Rueing the loss of enforcer Kusal Perera at the top, their batting unit fared poorly at strike rotation during the middle overs and let pressure engulf them until a hazardous release stroke spelt doom. Their innings basically lacked the binding glue that India found in their captain.

Dushmantha Chameera kept India honest with his express pace but Isuru Udana floundered as second fiddle, leaking 27 off his two overs. Besides exploring their seam resources, Sri Lanka need to pull up their socks on the field as two chances went begging, with the pocket dynamite that is Kishan proving the beneficiary on both occasions.

When: Tuesday, July 20, 2021, 10:30 AM BST, 3:00 PM IST

Where: Sri Lanka vs India, 2nd ODI, R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo

Pitch and Conditions: The surface on the weekend played a batsman's ally with a faint sliver of swing on offer. Although staying true to its subcontinental reputation, Khettarama's deck spun a fair bit. Krunal Pandya astutely held his sliders back and bowled slower through the air to extract maximum purchase and was rewarded with the prized scalp of sheet anchor Dhananjaya de Silva.

Monsoon is upon us; however, the rain gods are expected to cooperate on Tuesday.

Team News

India: Bhuvneshwar Kumar wasn't at his economic best at the death and Manish Pandey squandered a rosy start, but India might just preserve the winning combination with a series victory on the cards. Otherwise, Navdeep Saini and Sanju Samson wait in the wings, respectively.

Shaw copped a bouncer flush on the helmet and was dismissed the very next ball, so he could have been a candidate for mild concussion symptoms later on. As things stand, there is no official update from BCCI, and hence, the young dasher remains available for selection.

Probable XI: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Sri Lanka: The military medium of Udana seems to be easy fodder for India's top-order. Sri Lanka could bring in Kasun Rajitha or Lahiru Kumara as a replacement. Albeit, it wouldn't do the left-armer's confidence a world of good if the management jumps the gun based on a solo performance.

Probable XI: Avishka Fernando, Binod Bhanuka (wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Aslanka, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Isuru Udana, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan

Stats and Trivia:

  • Dhawan became the second-fastest India batsman to reach 6000 ODI runs, getting there in 140 innings. Only Hashim Amla (123 inns), Virat Kohli (136) and Kane Williamson (139) have been faster to the milestone.
  • Sri Lanka have lost eight of their nine completed ODIs this year.
  • Kishan had also struck a half-century on his T20 international debut. The only other player to achieve this double is South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen.