Rattled Lankans look to bounce back
After a defeat in the first ODI, the Lankans will be looking to bounce back and level the series in the 2nd ODI. Despite the margin of defeat being only 21 runs, SL will know that they never really threatened to take the game away from the Indians apart from the phase where Sangakkara and Perera counter-attacked.
By Hariprasad Sadanandan
Time and Venue
India vs. Sri Lanka Second ODI, 14:30 IST 24-7-2012
The Mahindra Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium was established in 2009. It boasts of a capacity of 35000. Though initially used only for staging day-matches, the installation of floodlights in 2010 has led to day-night games being held here as well.
After a defeat in the first ODI, the Lankans will be looking to bounce back and level the series in the 2nd ODI. Despite the margin of defeat being only 21 runs, SL will know that they never really threatened to take the game away from the Indians apart from the phase where Sangakkara and Perera counter-attacked. Malinga’s lusty blows in the final over narrowed the margin of defeat but clearly it was a game where SL were below-par. The loss of Kulasekra due to injury for the remainder of the series will be a big blow as he is a vital cog of their ODI outfit. SL will be looking to Dilshan to fire and provide them with a quick start so that the likes of Mahela and Sangakkara can propel them to a big score. The absence of a crucial bowler like Kulasekra will mean that Malinga will have to take more responsibility. The Lankans will have to give that extra in the field and also with the bat to compensate for their weaker bowling attack.
India on the other hand apart from a sluggish display with the ball in the final overs did most things right. Their batting despite losing early wickets clicked getting them to a big score. The decision to play Pathan at no.7 is sensible as you really don’t need 7 proper batsmen on flat tracks. Plus, Pathan proved his worth as a bowler nailing the dangerous Dilshan early. Virat continues to excel and his dominance against SL is enviable indeed. India will be hoping to carry on the good performance and strengthen their lead in the series. The only area to improve on will be regarding finishing the innings with the ball. They were in a position to win the game quite easily in the first ODI but probably took it easy and were lazy in the field. They will be hoping to tighten their game in that area. If their top-order clicks tomorrow, they could bat SL out of the game yet again.
Pitch and Weather Conditions
The weather has been windy and as Mahela said in his press conference, that poses different challenges to the teams. The pitch here is often a sporting track with help for the bowlers, be it the seamers or the spinners. There is always a good battle between bat and ball. Its advisable to bat first as the pitch gets harder to bat on as the game progresses. The stats also prove it with 4 of the 5 games played here being won by the team batting first.
Players to watch out for
MS Dhoni is a vital cog in the Indian middle order. Probably the best finisher in World Cricket today, the ease with he reads and adapts to a situation is incredible. As he showed in the first ODI, the longer he stays at the crease, the more damage he will cause. If he gets going tomorrow, SL will find the going tough.
Mahela Jayawardene is a smooth-stroking batsman who is very pleasing on the eye. He also occupies the crucial no.5 slot for Sri Lanka. So, if he strikes form tomorrow, it would help Sri Lanka set up and finish the innings strongly.
“God has been kind, things have really come up well for me. Hopefully i will be consistent enough. To continue performing is biggest thing for me. I try to give my best to the team. Doing well in Australia in test matches boosted my confidence, from there i got more confidence in my game “ – Virat Kohli
“We left it too much for those guys to do in end. We did too many mistakes at start. We had to try and setup a platform. We lost wickets at regular interval. We never had the momentum before going in last 10 overs.” – Mahela Jayawardene