Posted on: February 28, 2014

India Vs Sri Lanka, 4th ODI Match of Asia Cup 2014

By Asfak Patel

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India Vs Sri Lanka, 4th ODI Match of Asia Cup 2014

Their battered pride regained after snapping an eight-ODI winless streak, five-time champions India will look to build a winning momentum when they take on Sri Lanka in what could by their first real test in the Asia Cup here tomorrow.

India notched up a six-wicket win against hosts Bangladesh in their opening match of the five-nation regional tournament yesterday but their real test begins tomorrow against the Lankans who had beaten defending champions Pakistan by 12 runs.

Venue: Fatullah Osmani Stadium, Narayanganj, Bangladesh
Date: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
Start time: 2 p.m. local time, 8 a.m. GMT

Match Preview

India would want to do a few things differently this time around though. For starters, the spot of Varun Aaron in the playing XI will definitely be under scrutiny. Aaron bowled with pace, but little else, against Bangladesh and got carted around. If Kohli wants another pacer in the XI instead of Aaron, the only candidate is Ishwar Pandey. But the pitches at Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah have tended to be on the slower side, and there could be a case for including Stuart Binny for his all-round skills or giving Amit Mishra a go.

Of the middle order, Ajinkya Rahane has certainly sealed a spot for the next few matches with his composed supporting act, playing the perfect foil to Kohli. It is likely that Cheteshwar Pujara might have to wait some more for another ODI, given that Ambati Rayudu was originally preferred and hasn’t really had any opportunity to either make or break his case.

Kohli’s brilliance meant that the new-look middle order had to only play a peripheral role in the first match, something they did very well, but the acid test will be how they perform when – or perhaps if – Kohli fails. At the moment, Kohli has shown no signs of getting complacent about the number of runs he’s been stacking up and always seems hungry for more. If anything, the captaincy might have added just that bit more responsibility to his batting and whetted his appetite.

The Sri Lankans will certainly not allow Kohli to run away with the match if they can help it, and Dinesh Chandimal, the vice-captain, said that although the India captain was “a really good batsman”, Sri Lanka had “something in mind” for him. “He is batting exceptionally well. They have some really good players but we got bowlers like (Lasith) Malinga. So we will see tomorrow,” said Chandimal on the match eve.

Chandimal also pointed at early wickets as the key in a middle order that doesn’t have MS Dhoni, saying, “It is crucial for us to get early wickets. With Dhoni not in the middle order, we might be in with a good chance if we can take early wickets.”

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, might make some changes to their XI, with Chandimal saying Ajantha Mendis was “a wicket-taking bowler” and had “a good chance to play in tomorrow’s game”. If included, Mendis could replace Sachithra Senanayake.

Sri Lanka have the advantage of familiarity with the conditions, having been in Bangladesh for more than a month now, but given the similarity of conditions in the subcontinent, that is a marginal gain at best.

Sri Lanka’s trump cards lie with the experienced duo of Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga. Sangakkara has been in a rich vein of form, and shown he is as unstoppable as Kohli can be once he gets going. And Malinga found form at the opportune moment to make the difference in the match against Pakistan. The slinger hasn’t had great success against India in the past, but given the inexperience there at the moment, he just might fancy his chances.

For both teams, a win here will be immensely valuable. While Bangladesh and Afghanistan have shown they are no pushovers, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan remain the stronger teams in the competition. A win against any one of those gives each team a foot in the door of the final.


India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Cheteshwar Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Ishwar Pandey.

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Lasith Malinga, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Dhammika Prasad, Suranga Lakmal, Chaturanga De Silva, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Ashan Priyanjan.

Players to watch

Virat Kohli: India cruised to victory against Bangladesh thanks in large part to 136 from captain Virat Kohli, as they eased home by six wickets.

Kohli looked in very good touch in his innings of 122 balls and will be a prized wicket for the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Lasith Malinga: Still one of the most lethal pace bowlers in world cricket, Lasith Malinga was on top form against Pakistan and will want to reproduce that against India.

Malinga’s 5-52 against the Pakistanis was critical in Sri Lanka restricting their opponents’ run chase, and he will want to do something similar as his country’s senior seamer.

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