Lions aim redemption
The first ODI was a pretty tough one for both the sides as India posted a competitive 315 in their first innings. The Hambantota strip was a pretty flat, hard deck and Dhoni opted to bat first.
Their current knight in the shining armour, Virat Kohli came up with yet another century, his fourth in his last fifth innings. He keeps underlining the fact that he is currently one of the best ODI batsmen in world cricket. What’s more noteworthy in his century was, this time there were no verbal abusive screams, when he reached his century and acknowledged it with a polite gesture to the dressing room and the crowd. Sehwag was in full flow after some initial hiccups and fell short of just four runs for his well-deserved century. Rohit Sharma once again goofed up and got out cheaply. It’s time that Manoj Tiwary be given a chance and it would not be a surprise if he features in the next match.
The Sri Lankan top-order was led by the spirited Kumar Sangakkara who came up with a fighting hundred. He could only get support from Thisara Perera, and that could get them only close to 300.
It’s a good win for India, and not many would have touted them to win an ODI after a lengthy international break. For Sri Lanka, if their fielding was appalling as both Sehwag and Kohli were given lives, which led to their own destruction. For the first time since 2008, the Baroda pair of Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan led the bowling attack and they got good swing. Pathan in particular, was looking a firm silhouette of his prime years, the lethal in-swingers to the right-handers and going away from the southpaws which was troubling Dilshan, who was eventually trapped LBW. Ashwin and Ojha did a decent job as well to constrain the runs. The combination of three seamers and two spinners worked and hence they might opt for the same team.
Sri Lanka on the other hand, should promote Lahiru Thirimanne up the order as he bats well at number 5. Thisara Perera’s expoits with the bat goes unnoticed and he too should be taken up to number 6. Nuwan Kulasekara has been ruled out of the series with a groin injury and Nuwan Pradeep has been called in as his replacement.