India look to extend domination over Lanka

Rohit Sharma gets a chance to show his leadership skills in ODI series

India look to extend domination over Lanka

It is turning out to be just the year for Rohit Sharma. The talented batsman gained recognition for his leadership ability in the Indian Premier League and followed it with a much-awaited Test century in the just-concluded Delhi Test against Sri Lanka.

In the absence of "rested" Virat Kohli, the Mumbai cricketer is all set to take over the interim captaincy in the limited overs series,  starting at the HPCA stadium here on Sunday, with India once again looking to assert their might.

The 30-year-old, for years carrying the cross of being gifted, has found a place for himself in the sun. He has been hugely successful as the Mumbai India captain, leading the side to three titles including this year. His growing maturity is finally giving shape to his latent talent. His clean hitting, the knack of picking the  length and scoring at will make him an attractive watch. The timing for him to lead the Indian team could not have been better.

For Rohit, not having Virat might not be an ideal situation. The crowd will be disappointed too as they missed the Indian captain in action when the third Test against Australia took place here. At that time, Virat had injured his shoulder. Rohit, however, has options. Hardik Pandya, given a break from Tests, returns for the limited overs series. Shikhar Dhawan is in fine form, although he has had fever since the  last couple of days. He, however, batted at the nets on Saturday.

Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer and Dinesh Karthik are exciting choices for the middle-order even as Ajinkya Rahane fights to return to form. Rohit will also have the valuable support of M S Dhoni whose suggestions were well respected by Virat too. The bowling appears balanced and will be led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah with spinners Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal also in the squad.

The Sri Lankan ODI side has little resemblance to its Test unit. As many as nine changes have been effected from the Test squad. Even the Test captain Dinesh Chandimal, who stroked an impressive century in Delhi, has not found a place; Thisara Perera is the leader. They could not have found a better venue to start a new series with the  new-look side. The ordeal the visitors endured in the smog-filled capital should be alleviated by the soothing, fresh mountainous air and a riveting view.

All-rounder Asela Gunaratne finds a place along with fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep but Dhananjaya de Silva, who won hearts with his gritty century in Delhi, has been ruled out owing to the injury he picked during his match-saving innings. Suranga Lakmal and Dushmantha Chameera are the leading seamers with Akila Dhananjaya being the lone spinner. Angelo Mathews, also fresh from a century, can play a key role.

With the pitch promising to assist the batsmen, Sri Lanka would be hoping Perera, wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga and Lahiru Thirimanne to cash in.

For India, the series will hold great value considering that anything less than a 3-0 whitewash would see them lose their World No 1 ranking in ODIs. They are currently joint-topper with South Africa (120). A series win, though, would be a perfect way to end a successful year for India, and Rohit too.

 

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry