Kohli rested, India all set to take Lanka in ODI series opener

Dharamsala : As the three-match One Day International (ODI) series between India and Sri Lanka begins on Sunday, the hosts will aim to attain the top spot at the ICC team rankings, whereas the visitors will look forward to taste a win after the Test series loss.

Though the Indian side ‘run machine’ and regular skipper Virat Kohli has been rested for the series, it would still not be easy for Sri Lanka, as they will face the Men in Blue spearheaded by the most successful IPL captain Rohit Sharma, here at the HPCA stadium in Dharamsala in “fresh air”.

Recalling the past, the last time Lanka played ODIs in India, it was Rohit Sharma who displayed an excellent show with the bat to accumulate 264 runs.

It is good time for India to play Sri Lanka as they have been struggling in the ODIs. The Lankan Lions struggle is confirmed by the fact that they have been whitewashed 5-0 three times this year.

Sri Lanka’ record against India in particular is also quite poor as they have lost eight of the so far nine bilateral ODI series in India.

On the other hand, India have always enjoyed a good show in the home conditions. They had defeated Australia 4-1 and triumphed New Zealand 2-1 in recent months.

Sharma-led side will thus aim to continue the winning streak and end the year on a high note.

The hosts are likely to open with Shikhar Dhawan and stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma, whereas Kohli’s no. 3 spot is expected to be taken by Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane will aim to break the jinx to regain his form as the right-handed batsman had been patchy in the Test format.

The no. 4 spot, which has been a game of musical chairs lately, could go either to Dinesh Karthik or Manish Pandey. Shreyas Iyer can also be not ruled out for the spot.

Meanwhile Hardik Pandya, who had been rested ahead of the South Africa tour, is back in the squad.

Pandya surely has fond memories of playing in Dharamsala, as the all-rounder had made his ODI debut for the national side here in 2016.

Kedar Jadhav has been ruled out of the ODI series with Washington Sundar coming in.

Meanwhile, Punjab’s medium-pacer Siddarth Kaul has earned a maiden call-up in the national squad to complement the pace-bowling duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.

Sir Lanka will be playing the ODI and the T20I series under Thisara Perera, who has taken over from Upul Tharanga.

However, Dhananjaya de Silva, who has hit a match saving century in Delhi Test, has been ruled out of the series opener due to an injury.

India squad (Probable): Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Washington Sundar.

Sri Lanka squad (Probable): Upul Tharanga (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama/Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera (c), Chathuranga de Silva/Sachith Pathirana/Dushmantha Chameera, Akila Dhananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep. (ANI)