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Indian cricket team have had an interesting start to their new season. The team which was coming of a long break was expected to be a bit rusty in the first match, but they surprised everyone by putting up a stupendous performance. All the Indian batsmen (except for Rohit Sharma) looked in great touch and they dominated the Sri Lankan bowlers. Indian bowlers had a very good total to defend and despite some wayward bowling, they managed to defend the total quite well. Indian team always looked in control and it was Kumar Sangakkara’s heroics that took Sri Lanka close to the total.
Indian team looked good going into the second match, but the end result of the econd ODI was embarrassing for the Indian team, the team that scored more than 300 runs in the first match could only manage 138 runs, in reply, Sri Lanka achieved the target with more than 30 overs to be bowled.
Now the teams have moved from the windy conditions at Hambantota to calmer Colombo. This is the third match of the series and a win is very crucial for both the teams. Both teams have tasted a near perfect result and expect this match to go down to the wire.
Let’s have a look at some of the players who will be key to their respective team’s success:
Players to watch out from the Indian team:
Gautam Gambhir: Gambhir was the only batsman who looked in control in the previous match. He batted right through the innings and was the last batsman to get out. Gambhir scored 65 runs from the total of 138 runs. He looks very determined and has always done well against the Lankans.
MS Dhoni: Indian captain has a tremendous record against the hosts and the Lankan bowlers will be well aware of the fact. Dhoni has a habit of raising the standards whenever the chips are down and he will be looking to play a captain’s knock here. He looked lost in the previous match, he was dropped on not and played an airy-fairy shot to get out.
Zaheer Khan: Zaheer is the premier fast bowler for India and the visitors need him to be at his best. He had an off-day in the last match and was taken for runs, but Zaheer has been a world-class performer and is always dangerous. He loves bowling to left-handers and Sri Lanka do have a couple of left-handers at the top of the order.
Ravichandran Ashwin: He has bowled well in both the matches and is the most economical Indian bowler. The Sri Lankans have always found Ashwin tough to get away it seems that they haven’t figured out the mystery yet. This series is very crucial to Ashwin and will be looking to improve his performance in every match.
Players to watch out from the Sri Lankan team:
Angelo Mathews: This Sri Lankan all-rounder is one of the best finishers in the world. He assesses the situation very well and has the ability to play according to the team’s need. Mathews is a clean striker of a cricket ball and has improved his batting a lot. And in the last match he showed what he is capable of with the bowl. He took three wickets for 14 runs and was on the mark from the first ball.
Mahela Jayawardene: The Sri Lankan captain failed in the first match and did not get an opportunity to bat in the second. Mahela has pushed himself down the order to give young Chandimal an opportunity to bat at number four. Mahela is one of the best batsmen going around and he is dangerous any situation. He will be itching to have a bat against the opposition who he has punished so many times in the past.
Thisara Perera: Perepa is going through a dream patch, he had a wonderful series against Pakistan where he picked important wickets in both Test and one-day matches. This series has been even better for him, he is the highest wicket-taker till now and the one opportunity that he got to bat,he made a quick-fire 40. Perera in the last match bowled at a superb line and length and troubled every batsmen. At one time he had three wickets without conceding a single run and his figure would have been even more magical if Dhoni was not dropped of his bowling.
Lasith Malinga: The last few spells that he has bowled against the Indians has been the most expensive spells of his career. Even in the last match though he picked two wickets, he didn’t look that threatening. Malinga is a very good bowler but has struggled tremendously against the like of Kohli and company. Malinga is a fierce competitor and he will be looking to take the revenge on the Indian batsmen.
By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News Network