Virat Kohli lead team India shall be locking horns against Sri Lanka in the second one day international at Pallekele on Thursday. The Men in Blue shall hope to continue their stupendous run in the ongoing series against a below par hosts after winning the first ODI at Dambulla.
The Indians have been all over the Lankans dominating them in all formats off the game. The hosts have been plagued by lack of experience in their batting unit post the retirements of their stalwarts Kumara Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
The Sri Lankan bowling also looks relatively weak as their only experience comes in the form of Lasith Mallinga who is two short of 300 ODI scalps.
India on the other hand produced some quality cricket in the opening ODI at Dambullah. Opener Shikhar Dhawan carried is rich vein of form into the ODI series notching up his twelfth ODI ton. Meanwhile captain Virat Kohli once again scored a breezy half century to see his team across the line.
The Sri Lankans were inflicted a crushing 3-0 defeat in the Test series and were expected to give some fight to the India in the limited overs version. But the heavy defeat in the first ODI in Dambulla has been a major cause of worry for their think tank.
The Lankans are in turmoil. Their coach Nic Pothas has revealed that players are confused because “there are too many cooks” in the dressing room. Former skipper Mahela Jayawardene has said that the players have been gripped by the “fear of losing.” So the odds are heavily stacked against the home team.
It’s time the Lankans redeemed themselves. Sri Lanka could seal direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and for that the 1996 world champions will have to win at least two matches to secure a place in the pinnacle 50-over competition by staving off the challenge from the West Indies. The cut-off date for direct qualification is September 30.