Sri Lanka vs India: Second ODI Preview

Batsman Faces Bowler

Sri Lanka will be looking to bounce back following an abject display against India when the sides meet in Pallekele on 24 August. 

From a promising start to a pathetic finish, Sri Lanka were ultimately abject in Dambulla's opening ODI - and require plenty of prompt improvement in Pallekele.

India, meanwhile, were entirely clinical - and will welcome another opportunity to not just beat, but thoroughly trounce, Thursday's opposition.

Sri Lanka v India | Thursday, 24 August | Pallekele International Cricket Stadium | 11:00

To Win Match
Sri Lanka 33/10 | Tie 35/1 | India 1/5

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Sri Lanka
The host top- through middle-order cherished plenty of solid starts in the series opener, but a severe lack of conversion to innings of genuine substance continues to mar their campaign. The controversial decision to overlook the experienced Dinesh Chandimal will, again, demand that at least one of the top five batsmen - potentially the hard-hitting Niroshan Dickwella - graduate to three figures.

Selected ahead of Chandimal and averaging less than 21 after almost 100 ODIs, the statistically overrated Chamara Kapugedera needs to justify favour - and soon. Alternatively, the addition of all-rounder Danushka Gunathilaka would afford some bulk to Sri Lanka's batting and bowling ranks.

The one-sided nature of defeat in Dambulla sparked a contingent of fans to prevent the team bus from departing the stadium. Their raucous, collective displeasure was uncalled for in action, but not sentiment. Captain Upul Tharanga must reply - in deed, not word - with victory in Pallekele, where the hosts have lost just four of their last dozen ODIs.

Their last Test, ODI and T20I outings here, though, all brought defeat - none more heavy, humiliating and recent than mid-August's innings and 171-run defeat inside three days at the hands of the Indians. Disastrously outgunned and under-resourced then, one can't see a dramatic turnaround - in a more manageable format - less than two weeks later.

Skipper Virat Kohli stated prior to the start of the series that India are prepared to lose a few games in order to experiment with personnel and combinations. The elevation of seamer Hardik Pandya to new-ball duty in Dambulla, ahead of fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, certainly spoke to experimentation - and will likely continue in Pallekele.

Tremendously good at successfully chasing scores of vast sizes, Kohli would do well to have his side bat first if triumphant at the toss on Thursday. Stretching all and sundry out of their comfort zone is needed amid relatively inconsequential series such as this, so here's hoping Kohli walks his talk.

India's batting largely went untested in the first ODI, where they lost just one wicket and - as has often been the case this year - rode on the success of opener Shikhar Dhawan. The in-form left-hander recently reiterated how he has learnt from his failures and, that cricketing cliche aside, it will be really interesting to see how India fare should he, indeed, fall cheaply - and fellow opener Rohit Sharma's wretched run of form in Sri Lanka continue - in the second fixture.

Personnel-wise, the selection of the talented Manish Pandey ahead of, say, the veteran Kedar Jadhav would not be untoward. Pandey strung together several high not outs for India A earlier this month - and deserves another chance at the highest level. The absence of Jadhav's part-time spin, too, would truly test the individual and collective depth of slow bowlers Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel.

Verdict: India 1/5
Sri Lanka and India have met in the intermediate form of the international game on 151 occasions, with the latter triumphant 84 times - and highly likely to make it 85 on Thursday.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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