After giving the Indians a rude wake-up call in the first one-dayer at Dharamsala, the Sri Lankans would look to continue the party as they take on the hosts in the second match in Mohali on Wednesday.
While Sri Lanka proved they were no pushovers with two hard-earned draws in the Test series, they caught Rohit Sharma and company by surprise on a fast, seaming pitch at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala, running through the vaunted batting line-up to restrict them for a meagre 112, which was then easily conquered with seven wickets to spare.
It certainly turned out to be a good toss to win and the Sri Lankans turned it into a dominant performance. The visitors have had a change of leadership in the limited-overs formats after Upul Tharanga's luckless run, and were without the services of the consistent Dinesh Chandimal, who was the second highest run-getter in the Test series behind Virat Kohli.
With the kind of spell that he produced at Dharamsala, barely giving the hosts' top-order any room to work with, Suranga Lakmal, who recorded career-best figures of 4/13 from 10 overs, will be the key once again for the visitors. His consistency as far as pitching the ball in the right areas and troubling the batsmen with a nagging line helped inspire others in the Lankan attack, and he will be looking to continue the momentum.
Given the fact that it has been raining in Chandigarh for the last couple of days, the seamers can expect a bit of assistance thanks to the moisture in the air.
Indian pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah too made good use of the conditions in Dharamsala to restrict Sri Lanka to 20/2 early on, but soon they ran out of fuel and let the pair of Upul Tharanga and Angelo Mathews settled things for the tourists with a solid partnership. The Indian pace unit would be looking to up the ante further at Mohali and inject more discipline given the no ball problems that's been bothering them.
It remains to be seen the kind of mindset Bumrah will be in when he takes to the field at the PCA Stadium. Having had to come to terms with the news of a personal tragedy back in his home town, the young pacer will need a lot of strength and determination to shake off the pall of gloom.
As far as the batting is concerned, Tharanga certainly seemed to have been playing more freely without the captaincy burden, as he struck a lively 49 at Dharamsala. He had been searching for a consistent run during his time as captain, and with the monkey finally off his back, he should target this series as an opportunity to silence those who question his place at the top of the batting order.
The Indian top-order, on the other had, have a lot of questions to answer after the collective struggle that they exhibited at Dharamsala, where they were inching at a snail's pace in the powerplay overs, and were in danger of getting shot out for their lowest-ever total when they were reduced to 29 for 7.
Skipper Rohit and Dhawan, who have formed a stable and a successful opening pair in the limited-overs formats, will have a crucial job at hand to provide the hosts with a strong start, and avoid piling pressure on youngsters such as Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey, with the former making a forgettable debut in the first ODI.
More importantly, a solid opening partnership is what will help ease the burden on MS Dhoni in the middle-order. The former captain waged a lone battle as he produced a knock to remember, guiding the Indians past the 100-run mark in a situation that a lot of other batsmen would have caved in to.
There were reports of weather being a cause of worry ahead of the second one-dayer. However, the Chandigarh MET department assured of the conditions improving on the day of the match, according to a report in The Tribune. That would come as good news for the hosts, who are desperate to draw level in the series.
For the visitors however, this is a chance to show that their performance on Sunday was no one-time affair, and that they are slowly crawling out of the days of gloom.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ajinkya Rahane, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Siddarth Kaul
Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera (c), Sachith Pathirana, Suranga Lakmal, Akila Dananjaya, Nuwan Pradeep, Chaturanga de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushmantha Chameera, Kusal Perera.
Time: 11.30 am
Where: Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
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