India aiming to wrap up series against Sri Lanka with a win in fourth ODI

There is no better setting for India to clinch the ODI series against Sri Lanka as the teams get onto the field at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday — the most prolific batsman on either side, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara (206 in three matches), is out with a fractured finger; six of the team’s frontline bowlers are on the injured list and Gautam Gambhir is back in roaring form, says a report in The Hindu, adding that if MS Dhoni manages to pocket the series here in Colombo, he could test out his bench strength in the last match at Pallekele.

“If he manages to win the series, it will be his third ODI series win in Sri Lanka, the most by an Indian captain touring the tear-drop nation. The worry for the Indians will be the final overs. India has conceded over nine runs an over in the last 10 overs. In the first match at Hambantota, Sri Lanka piled up 90 runs in the last nine, while in the third one-dayer it managed 97 from the final 10,” says the report, adding Sri Lanka has one too many problems.

“Its first-pick bowler, Nuwan Kulasekara has not recovered from an injury sustained at Hambantota. Its best batsman in recent months, Sangakkara, joins that list. In the last match, it was left to Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene to lift the team from a pathetic 20 for three to a decent score. The mercurial Tillakaratne Dilshan has so far managed a poor 60 from three innings. Dinesh Chandimal, who is widely criticised as Sri Lanka’s Rohit Sharma, has 19 runs from three matches,” adds the report.

Meanwhile The Times Of India report says that after having their opponents on the back-foot on home turf, India, on their part, aim to deliver the sucker-punch here itself, before moving to Pallekele for the fifth and final ODI and the one-off T20 game on August 7, which will herald the end of the tour.

Suresh Raina, talking to the media at the team hotel before leaving for optional practice, said that with momentum on their side, the Indians would look to take an unbeatable lead in the fourth game itself.
"The difficult run-chase on Saturday night was a big boost to the team morale after the batting disaster in the second game at Hambantota. We aim to tame the Lankans in their den once again, though we realise they will come hard at us after the setback they suffered in the previous game."

Raina said that there was not much concern in the team about the poor form of key batsmen. "We are a strong batting line up. Two players (Kohli and Gambhir) have already got hundreds and Viru bhai a near-one. "I have got a couple of half-centuries. So the batting is looking good. I am sure the others will also come up with good scores in the last two games."

He also said that the team was not unduly worried about the bowling, especially the pace department. "The pitches here are flat and even a bowler like Malinga goes for 60 or 70 runs. For pacers like Umesh Yadav and Ashok Dinda, it is a great opportunity to learn to bowl on such flat wickets," Raina said while defending the bowlers.