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Tri-series: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe go head to head in Mirpur on Wednesday 17 January.  

New Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusingha returns to the country he coached just last year, as the seven-match tri-series continues in Dhaka, where characteristically sub-continental conditions will be rife.

Zimbabwe were entirely outdone by Bangladesh in the first fixture – and have to find a way to successfully combat plenty of slow bowling and trust their batsmen can succeed on a sluggish pitch, too.

Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe | Wednesday, 17 January | Shere Bangla National Stadium | 8:00

To Win Match
Sri Lanka 21/100 | Tie 35/1 | Zimbabwe 7/2

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Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankans are in the very beginning stages of recovery from a taxing 2017, which was hindered by several changes in leadership and a string of poor results. This relatively low-key tri-series, then, presents a quite suitable start to 2018.

All-rounder Thisara Perera’s tenure as ODI captain lasted less than 40 days, with batsman Angelo Mathews duly returned to the helm recently. Perera remains in the ranks, though, and will be key with bat and ball.

Rookie fast bowler Shehan Madushanka has also been included in the squad and points to a future minus the services of veteran pace ace Lasith Malinga.  Batsmen Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis and leg-spinning all-rounder have also been selected.

Despite the presence of a handful of spinners, Sri Lanka won’t likely take example from Bangladesh by opening the bowling with two turners in Mirpur. Instead, one will probably be complemented by Madushanka or fellow seamer Suranga Lakmal.

Lakmal is growing in stature – and was appointed vice-captain of the Test squad earlier this year. This limited-overs leg of the tour is the ideal opportunity for him to set himself apart from the rest with a slew of strong showings.

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Zimbabwe
Restricted by the spinners and then bashed by a dominant top order, Zimbabwe face a tough task in trying to bounce back from Monday’s hefty defeat to Bangladesh. Defeat would all but rule them out of contention for a berth in the final.

Returning duo Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis need to deliver big performances – and hopefully inspire the others to do better, too. Their experience and ability is far too valuable to look past in defeat. They must step up in the pressure moments.

All-rounder Sikandar Raza’s presence is proving increasingly important. He was the only one to do relatively well against Bangladesh’s barrage of spin – and then took the only two wickets to fall with his penetrative off-breaks.

Fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani, meanwhile, needs to put the four no-balls coughed up in one over behind him – and batsman Malcolm Waller will know he won’t be dropped twice against a Sri Lankan fielding outfit evidently stronger than their Bangladeshi counterparts.

Zimbabwe, indeed, will be hard pressed to defeat a Sri Lankan unit that have won all of their last six ODIs at this venue. The African team’s number one priority will be to win the toss and bowl first.

Verdict: Sri Lanka 21/100
Zimbabwe will take heart from their historic ODI series win over Sri Lanka in Galle and Hambantota just six months ago. While both teams have lost ground since, Zimbabwe certainly have less gains to show.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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