After a comprehensive Test series victory and even contest in the two twenty20’s, now it’s time for M.S.Dhoni and his team to ends the year 2009 on high note when they take on Sri Lanka in the first of five match ODI series at Rajkot.
India will eye a win in the opener to start the fresh series on a winning note after a disappointing ODI home series loss against the Australians. India, currently second behind Australia in the ICC ODI ratings, have the added incentive as a clean sweep in the five-match rubber would help them narrow the gap with the front runners.
India who currently with 122 points can close the gap with Australia by four if they manage to win the series by 5-0 (complete whitewash). However it will not be an easy task for Dhoni and his men since Sri Lanka have plenty of players including captain himself to win the game on his own.
Indian think tank will be little worried with the likelihood absence of south-paw Yuvraj Singh because of finger injury that means Virat Kohli will get another chance to show his class and power.
Indian bowling unit’s looks settled with the return of Zaheer Khan in the squad. He will play the ODI after almost 10 months of absence. India will be hoping that Zaheer will show his fire-power with the bowl to give India an early breakthrough.
Rajkots wicket is the same venue where India manages to post a huge 387 runs on the board last year against England. The medium pacers would have very little margin for error on the Rajkot track which is known to be batsmen-friendly.
Watch out for
Kumar Sangakar: After returning into the form from third test, he has shown no sign of complacency and with thrilling half-centuries in the two Twenty20s underlined his quality. He will be the man to watch out for when he takes guard against formidable Indian bowling attack.
Sachin Tendulkar and Virendra Sehwag: Both batsman’s is capable of changing the course of the game within few overs of play and if they got going then it will be nightmare for the Sri Lankan bowlers.
Pitch & Condition
The pitch is expected to be run feast for the batsman. As usual because of day start team winning the toss is likely to bowl first. However a high scoring game is expected.
Yuvraj Singh who injured his finger during second twenty20 is likely to miss the series opener that means young Virat Kohli is likely to grab his place in the team. Absence of S.Sreesanth will not hurt India as Zaheer Khan will make comeback to the ODI scene after 10 months.
Sri Lanka were dealt a jolt today when Lasith Malinga came down with fever and did not train at the ground. However they are delighted with the return of fit Muralitharan and he is likely to take his place in the playing xi. It looks like that Sanath Jayasurya has to end his career at the batting position where he has started his all-round career.
Likely Playing XI for both Teams (Match is Schedule to begin at 09:00 AM India Time)
India Squad: V.Sehwag, S.Tendulkar, G.Gambhir, Suresh Raina, V.Kohli, M.S.Dhoni (Captain & WK), Ravinder Jadeja, H.Singh, P.Kumar, Z.khan, A.Nehra.
Sri Lanka Squad: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara (Captain & WK), Mahela Jayawardene, T.Kandamby, Sanath Jayasuriya, Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara, M.Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, D.Fernando.
Stats & Trivia
India have a 50-50 win and loss ratio at this venue. Four out of the five victories came while batting first on this venue.