India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI: Hosts Look To Clinch Series At Visakhapatnam
India have lost just once in seven games in Visakhapatnam and following their performance in Mohali in the 2nd ODI, will start as the clear favourites in the final ODI.
Hosts India would look to seal a series win when they face Sri Lanka in the third and final One-day International at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam on Sunday. India are yet to lose a series at home since their loss to South Africa in October 2015 and will look to continue that trend in a city, which has been a fortress in the past. Team India have lost just once in seven games in Visakhapatnam and following their performance in Mohali in the 2nd ODI, will start as the clear favourites.
However, India will need to be wary. Sri Lanka will be determined to win their first ever bilateral series in India, having lost eight and drawn one.
Things might not have started well for stand-in captain Rohit Sharma with the hosts losing by seven wickets in the opening ODI in Dharamsala. But a brilliant double century, his third in ODIs, would have got the Indian opener's confidence right up where it should be.
In the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit will have the added pressure of shouldering the Indian batting line-up but if his performance in Mohali is anything to go by, India are in safe hands.
While, Rohit stole the limelight at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, a youngster made a huge claim to a starting spot. Shreyas Iyer might have thrown away his wicket but his innings of 88 off 70 balls, certainly caught the eye.
Shikhar Dhawan too impressed with a solid 67-ball 68 as India piled the misery on Sri Lankan bowlers.
However, defeat in Dharamsala means India can't overtake South Africa in the ICC ODI rankings but a series win is at stake. Rohit-led Team India will look to maintain supremacy over the visiting Lankans, having won the Test series earlier.
Also, the middle-order comprising Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey will love to be among the runs as would Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hardik Pandya. It also looks like Ajinkya Rahane would remain on the sidelines unless the think-tank opts to pick him ahead of either Pandey or Karthik.
The bowlers have looked the part so far and will aim to continue the good work on what is likely to be a batsman-friendly wicket, going by the records.
And, the importance of bowling well in the first 10 overs can't be overemphasised and the lead bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah would be well aware of this as would Lanka's spearhead Suranga Lakmal.
The visitors, buoyed by news about the availability of ace all-rounder Angelo Mathews for the crucial game, will give it their all to snatch a much-needed series win, in what has been a tough year for them.
Mathews scored a ton, albeit in a losing cause in Mohali and will be the linchpin of the batting unit, which is short on experience.
Spinners of both teams haven't had a great time in the ODIs and could be under pressure to keep the runs down in Visakhapatnam, where big scores have been the norm. While India are unlikely to tinker with the playing XI that won in Mohali, the visiting side may consider bringing the pacy Dushmantha Chameera in place of Pradeep.
The last ODI played here against New Zealand, saw India romp home to a big win.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, M S Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, M S Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Axar Patel, Siddarth Kaul.
Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (captain), Upul Tharanga, Danusha Gunathilaka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Asela Gunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Matthews, Sachith Pathirana, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Akila Dhanajaya, Chathuranga de Silva, Dushmantha Chameera, Kusal Perera.
(With PTI Inputs)