Sri Lanka v India: Fourth ODI Preview

We take a look at the fourth ODI between Sri Lanka and India set to get underway on Thursday 31 August in Colombo. 

The hosts' futile hopes of earning a series victory have promptly turned to the avoidance of a whitewash, as the five-match affair heads west, from Pallekele to Colombo.

The visitors, well, have not blanked opposition other than Zimbabwe in almost three years - and are well on their way to doing so against the same country they trounced five-nil in November 2014.

Sri Lanka v India | Thursday, 31 August | R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo | 11:00

To Win Match
Sri Lanka 7/2 | Tie 35/1 | India 2/9

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Sri Lanka
Thumped in the preceding Test series and now in real danger of copping an ODI drubbing, the Sri Lankans aren't sure which way to turn at the moment - and they're certainly not being helped by a string of injuries. The latest to join the list of walking wounded is wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal, who has been sidelined by a fractured thumb.

The home side, again, will be without Upul Tharanga. He's rightly serving a two-match suspension due to slow over rates - and the experienced but unconvincing Chamara Kapugedera will lead the team. His leadership and primary role with the bat was lacking in the third ODI - goodness knows what's going to change in the fourth...

From Dambulla to Pallekele, but hopefully not in Colombo, partisan crowd disruptions have marrred Sri Lanka's morale. The loyal masses don't want to stand for the team's collective mess any longer - and want the one-sided scoreline tightened, soon. A three-two defeat, indeed, would go down somewhat better than five-nil or four-one.

With Chandimal absent, a return for all-rounder Thisara Perera is likely. Where to bat him, though, remains a quandary. He can't be a like-for-like replacement at the top of the order, and mustn't be forced too far down. Position six or seven seems about right, provided his sound ability with the bat is reinforced by a substantial showing from the middle order.

India's unassailable lead shouldn't detract from the fact that their experimental middle order failed in matches two and three. The decision to send Lokesh Rahul to the crease ahead of Virat Kohli in the former before reverting to the status quo in the latter did not go according to plan on either occasion. Kedar Jadhav, meanwhile, only has three runs to show for as many games in the series so far.

Rohit Sharma, however, has capitalised significantly enough - and has promptly resigned an otherwise poor ODI record in Sri Lanka to the past. The calculated century scored in Pallekele bodes well for the only man to have scored two double-centuries in the intermediate format of the international game. A cheeky punt suggests a third across the flat conditions expected in Colombo.

With the series won, now is definitely the time for Kohli to trial his bench strength. Manish Pandey, Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav all deserve a go at the R Premadasa Stadium. Pandey, in particular, would be an astute selection ahead of Jadhav. Choosing Yadav ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal, too, wouldn't take away from India's wrist-spinning resources.

The Indians will be mindful of the fact that Sri Lanka have made the R Premadasa Stadium a veritable fortress - and have only lost seven of their last 20 ODIs here. Two of those, though, were consecutively against the Indians - in 2012. Sri Lanka's decision to bat first backfired both times, then, as the visiting XI's supreme chasing skills stepped to the fore.

Verdict: India 2/9
Subject to the full-strength or relatively depleted XI India put out, we could be in for a tight result, which should fall in favour of the visitors regardless.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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