India vs Sri Lanka 3rd ODI: Preview and Prediction
India will take on Sri Lanka for the third match in the ODI series on Sunday in Thiruvananthapuram which is a dead-rubber encounter as Kuldeep Yadav’s heroics ensured that the hosts sealed the series at the Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata.
India won the first two matches, implying that a win in the penultimate match of the series will be like adding salt to injury for a team like Sri Lanka, who are currently fighting for a spot for World Cup qualification.
India won the first match relatively comfortably. However, the Asian Champions gave the men in blue a tough fight in the second one, allowing India to only walk away with a slender win.
What have they done so far?
The openers were standout performers for India in the first game. After being put to bat first by Dasun Shanaka, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill put on a show, scoring 83 and 70 runs respectively.
However, former skipper Virat Kohli stole the show after scoring his 73rd international and 45th ODI century. Despite losing early wickets, thanks to Mohammed Sirajs’ antics, Sri Lanka launched a comeback, with Pathum Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva trying to steady the ship.
Interestingly, skipper Shanaka remained impenetrable and scored 108, which allowed Sri Lanka to cross the 300-run mark. However, the total proved to be too precipitous for the visitors as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
In the second game, however, Sri Lanka’s top order set an impetus for a massive total, with debutant Nuwanidu Fernando scoring his maiden half-century and Kusal Mendis scoring a handy knock of 34 runs.
Sadly, everything went south soon after Kuldeep Yadav was introduced in the attack. The left-arm chinaman bowler, along with Siraj picked three wickets each, not allowing the Sri Lankan batsmen to settle.
On the flip side, despite knocking the ball around for a few boundaries, Rohit and Shubman fell cheaply. Lahiru Kumara proved to be the difference in the powerplay overs and took the crucial wickets of Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli.
However, KL Rahul’s partnership with Hardik Pandya steadied the ship for the men in blue. Rahul might’ve scored his slowest half-century in ODI cricket. Still, it was imperative for a batsman of his credentials to stick around and bat till the end with wickets falling at regular intervals on the other end.
Kuldeep Yadav provided the finishing touches as the visitors bagged their 10th straight ODI series win against Sri Lanka.
Head to Head record
The South Asian neighbors have played a lot against each other in the last few years. As for 50-over cricket, the two teams have locked horns 164 times.
Unsurprisingly, India has gained bragging rights after emerging victorious 95 times, while restricting the Lankans to only 57 wins. Interestingly, only one match ended in a tie, while the 11 other matches didn’t produce a result.
Over the recent years too, India has remained dominant in more or less every format of the game. As for ODI cricket, India managed a win in 11 of their last 13 encounters with Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan’s last ODI win against India came in 2017.
Virat Kohli (India): The former skipper has gone through a tumultuous time since 2019. However, the 34-year-old regained form late last year and has looked as deadly as ever since then. Kohli scored 113 runs in the first game and played some fabulous shots at a strike rate of 129.89.
Despite falling cheaply in the last game, the roster will be counting on him to play an anchored innings whenever the need arises. The former skipper scored his 73rd and 45th ODI century in the previous game, and with the pace at which he’s progressing, he will undoubtedly take Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI tons.
Moreover, he started off 2023 in the same fashion as he ended the previous year, by scoring a century. Interestingly, he scored 113 runs the last time he scored a century before coming in to play the series against Sri Lanka.
Dasun Shanaka (Sri Lanka): While Sri Lanka as a team has seen better days, skipper Shanaka has been in fabulous touch. Despite falling cheaply in the previous game, he remained unbeaten at 108 in the first game and looked impenetrable, as he has on most occasions he has come out to bat.
Shanaka was ferocious in the T20I series as well. He scored a half-century and played another 40+ knock along with taking two wickets with the ball in hand.
The 31-year-old has played 47 matches and has scored a little over 1,000 runs. He has proved to be an instrumental part of the Lankans’ roster and will undoubtedly play a key role in the last game of the series.
Predicted Playing XI
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Mohammed Shami, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh, Kuldeep Yadav
Sri Lanka: Nuwanidu Fernando, Kusal Mendis (wk), Avishka Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka (C), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara
Having already won the series, India will try to tie all loose ends, including the issue with their middle-order collapse, which has more or less been a bone of contention for the last few months.
The last match of the series will also prove to be important for Sri Lanka’s preparations for the World Cup. However, we predict India to walk away with yet another ODI win before they take on New Zealand later this month.