Sri Lanka’s hopes of winning their first-ever bilateral series in India were dashed by the brilliance of Suryakumar Yadav. However, the team remains determined to achieve their goal of a series win as they move on to the ODI matches.
The World Cup year will see India strengthened by the return of their full-time skipper, Rohit Sharma, and their most experienced and best batter, Virat Kohli. Jasprit Bumrah, India’s top bowler, was originally named for the series but has since been sidelined in order to avoid rushing him back after a long layoff. Nonetheless, India will be looking to establish a settled team before the biggest ODI tournament in the world, and this series will be the beginning of that process.
The Indian side will be seeking to establish a consistent playing XI, as they will be playing a lot of ODIs (at least 12) after this series. There is also a possible Asia Cup on the horizon, so this ODI series will provide the ideal opportunity to test out the team that the selectors and captain want to use for the remaining 12 ODIs and eventually at the World Cup.
Rishabh Pant is almost certain to be ruled out, while Ravindra Jadeja and Bumrah will be included in the playing 11 as soon as they are fit. Another position up for contention is that of K.L. Rahul, who will either open the batting, play at number five, or not be part of the playing 11 at all. These questions will be answered in this series.
While the Sri Lankan T20I team has been competitive in the last 6-8 months, the ODI team still lacks the potential to compete against strong teams like India. The players chosen for this series are the same ones that were part of the T20I team last week, and it is hoped that this same team will be used for the next 6-8 months in order to build a steady side for the World Cup.
India is likely to go with three pacers: Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh, and Mohammed Shami. Umran and Arshdeep will be the choices to replace Bumrah when he is fully fit to play. Similarly, Kuldeep Yadav and either Washington Sundar or Axar Patel will be the two spinners, with Hardik Pandya serving as the sole all-rounder in the playing 11.
The five batters for the first game will be Rohit, Virat, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, and K.L. Rahul. Later on, India may experiment with Ishan Kishan as the wicketkeeper and Shubman Gill as the opener if Rahul and Iyer do not find their form.
Sri Lanka will be looking to build their team around the opening pair of Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka. Avishka Fernando could bat at number three, with either Charith Asalanka or Dhananjaya de Silva at four. Bhanuka Rajapaksa at number five would be ideal, with Dasun Shanaka batting at six to play the finisher’s role alongside Wanindu Hasaranga at seven. The fact that Shanaka and de Silva/Asalanka can roll their arm over for 3-4 overs each