Adelaide – Nearly two months after landing in Australia, India finally enter a match as the more confident team. The monstrous last-over six from MS Dhoni which helped secure victory on Sunday made it two wins in two for India, and leaves Sri Lanka desperate for a win to stay in touch with the other two sides.
Dhoni's finishing skills and Gautam Gambhir's return to form may have grabbed most of the attention after the win over Australia, but India will be happier that two of their usual weaknesses were overcome. Firstly, the fielding was sharp; Virender Sehwag's diving catch to dismiss David Hussey snapped Australia's momentum. Also, the fast bowlers combined to put in a solid death-bowling performance, giving away only 57 runs in the final 10 overs to limit Australia to 269, when 300 seemed possible at one stage.
For Sri Lanka, the experienced batting has failed to click so far. The biggest worry for them is the form of their new captain, Mahela Jaywardene, who has not made a half-century in 11 international innings. The traditionally batting-friendly Adelaide surface should help Sri Lanka make more runs, but if they lose they are likely to be left needing to win four of their last five league matches to reach the final.
Umesh Yadav got his first chance in the tri-series on Sunday, and made a big impact. He took two important wickets, kept the runs down, consistently bowled in the late 140kph range and hit a top speed of 151.3kph, prompting Gautam Gabmhir to call Yadav 'the find of the tour'. The rotation policy at the top of the order has gathered loads of headlines but Umesh's performance, and Vinay Kumar's strong show, leaves the management pondering about the fast-bowling combination.
For years, Dinesh Chandimal was touted as one of the most promising youngsters in Sri Lankan cricket. When he got his chance as a 20-year-old in 2010, he announced himself with a century against India. A year later there was a famous century in Lord's, but his scores proved infuriatingly inconsistent. It wasn't till the recent series against South Africa that he made it to 20 in consecutive innings, but he has now hit a more fruitful spell, and is becoming an important part of the Sri Lankan middle-order.
India, in keeping with their much-debated rotation policy, should rest Virender Sehwag and bring back Sachin Tendulkar. Yadav was impressive so he should play. India will have to decide whether to keep Praveen Kumar out or to give Zaheer Khan a rest. India (probable) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Vinay Kumar, 10 Zaheer Khan/Praveen Kumar, 11 Umesh Yadav
The lower-middle order has long been a problem for Sri Lanka . They will now have to decide whether to bring in Thisara Perera or give Lahiru Thirimanne another game. The bowling attack isn't likely to have too many changes, as Sri Lanka aren't likely to go in with two specialist spinners against India. – Agencies