3rd ODI: Lanka elect to bat against India

NEW DELHI: Sri Lankan skipperKumar Sangakkara won the toss and opted to bat against India in the third ODI of the tri-series at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium in Dambulla, Sri Lanka on Monday.

Mauled by a depleted New Zealand in the opening game, injury-ravaged and battle-weary India will have to raise their game significantly against Sri Lanka to stay afloat in the tri-series.

Injuries have wrecked the balance of the squad and a bowling reinforcement has already been called in Munaf Patel to cover for the off-colour Ishant Sharma, who is nursing a knee problem.

Missing the services of reliable willow-wielders such as Sachin Tendulkar, who has been rested, and the injured Gautam Gambhir, Indian line-up does not look as formidable as it is reputed to be.

On the bowling front, although Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra have done a decent job in the absence of injured pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, they have not got the requisite support in the middle overs.

In the absence of Harbhajan Singh, the spin department looked ineffective as Pragyan Ojha failed to replicate his fine Test form in the series opener.

The Lankans, on the other hand, made a winning start to their campaign although the victory was a rather hard-fought one against the gritty Kiwis.

The bowling looked in remarkable form as the likes of Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews ripped through New Zealand’s batting line-up but their batting did threaten to let the team down.

However, the Lankan batting is not prone to frequent collapses and it would be quite a task for the so far unimpressive Indian bowlers to contain hard-hitters such as Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Tharanga.

Squads:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ashish Nehra, Pragyan Ojha, Saurabh Tiwary, Munaf Patel.

Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dilhara Fernando, Rangana Herath, Suraj Randiv, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Thisara Perera, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Upul Tharanga.(AGENCIES)

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