Dharamsala: All-rounder Angelo Mathews brings in a lot of balance to the side with his bowling and Sri Lanka skipper Thisara Perera hopes that he does something special for the team in the first ODI against India on Sunday.
"He is bowling in this series. He didn't bowl in the Tests. He is prepared for ODIs and T20s. That gives us an option to balance the side. Hopefully he can do something special for us," said Perera on the eve of the opening ODI of the three-match series.
India will be without the services of regular skipper Virat Kohli in the limited overs series after he opted for rest, but Perera feels that his team still has to put its best foot forward against the hosts.
"India don't have Virat Kohli. He is their best batsman. But we actually don't think on those lines. We have to do our best. We will assess the wicket and if we play our best cricket, we can beat them," he said.
Talking about the preparation of the team, Perera said, "We have prepared well. We had two good sessions over the last two days. We have a nice balance in the side. Hopefully we can do something special. Mentally and fitness wise we have done well."
Asked about the players who are making a comeback to the team after recovering from injuries, Perera said, "We have a couple of players who have come from injury. It is a balanced side at the moment. We can assess what we want to do. I think (Asele) Gunaratne is back after injury and he is definitely playing. Hopefully we can do something special."
Perera did not agree that his team lacked power-hitters.
"We have power hitters. When you look at Dick (Niroshan Dickwella), Danushka (Gunathilaka), Upul (Tharanga) and Angelo (Mathews) all are power hitters. We can beat any team."
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan team manager Asanka Gurusinha informed that batsman Dhananjaya de Silva, who played with a glute muscle condition during his match-saving century against India in the third and final Test in Delhi, will not play in the opening game.
"He (Dhananjaya) has been ruled out. He is pretty close, but didn't want to take the risk," Gurusinha said.
The Sri Lankan Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera had stopped nine players from travelling to India.
Asked about the incident, Gurusinha said, "It is not a case of minister not being happy with them. We had four days of holidays and the processes was missed (so they were not being cleared). Nothing else. Same team we selected. Nothing was changed. Small hiccup. It was due to four days of holidays."
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Shikhar Dhawan's unbeaten 86 in the first game of the ongoing three-ODI series in Colombo helped him accumulate 712 rating points and gain two slots, while Kohli has 848 points.
Rohit Sharma is leading the side in Kohli and Rahane's absence as the game began today.
The BCCI also shared snapshots of the team's bowlers with pacers Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin seen training hard ahead of their warm-up game.