Sri Lanka vs India 3rd ODI Preview: India's winning habit set to effect clean sweep
Sri Lanka's Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Lakshan Sandakan are likely to be replaced by Pathum Nissanka and Praveen Jayawickrama respectively.
LIVE SCORES - Sri Lanka vs India 3rd ODI
How do Sri Lanka recover from this?
The last time Sri Lanka won an ODI series was in March 2020. The last time Sri Lanka won an ODI was in May this year, that too after already losing the series against Bangladesh.
The team is coming off a clean sweep against England. Sri Lanka have lost 9 ODIs at home from as many years against India and were looking for their first ever ODI victory on their home soil against India in almost a decade.
Against this backdrop, they had the opposition tottering at 160/6 at the halfway stage in the second ODI, chasing 276, and even then they were not able to get across the line.
One can only imagine the heartbreak in the Lankan dressing room, among players, head coach Mickey Arthur, the support staff and the fans. But, this is how it goes.
When you are winning, like India is, no matter how much wrong you do, it doesn't appear possible for you to lose. On the other hand, in the place that Sri Lanka find themselves, even after their best efforts, they can't just for their lives.
The team is without several of their first-choice players, with many injured and many others suspended or unavailable. Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal are mulling retirement due to their issues with the Sri Lankan administration. At such a point, a Sri Lankan victory would have meant a lot for everybody involved. As it turned out, the pressure of victory got to Sri Lanka.
Team India doesn't remember how to lose
India, on the other hand, keep pulling off miracles. The way they came back after being bowled out for 36 on their last tour of Australia to win a historic series and then beat England in all the three formats at home, the team has made winning a habit.
Despite carrying different personnel, a different coach and a different captain, that belief has not deserted them. Despite having lost their last recognized batter Krunal Pandya in the 35th over with the score at 193/7, the batters - rather the bowlers - at the crease Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar did not lose hope and batted sensibly to guide India to a thrilling win.
Deepak Chahar was the Player of the Match as he remained unbeaten on 69 off 82 deliveries with 7 boundaries and one six, going at a strike rate of 84.15. Most people around Indian cricket know that Chahar has the ability to bat. On a couple of occasions, he has won his IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings some last-over thrillers. But, that he has the mental acumen to stay at the crease for 82 deliveries in a 50-over match was a revelation.
After having picked up two wickets from 8 overs, his unbeaten partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar won India the match and got him the Player of the Match award.
Nissanka, Jayawickrama set to play
In terms of team changes for India, Krishnappa Gowtham can be tried out in place of Krunal Pandya and Navdeep Saini can be used to rest Deepak Chahar. But, both these don't appear likely.
Sri Lanka have Akila Dananjaya, Ramesh Mendis, Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando, Ashen Bandara, Praveen Jayawickrama, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Pathum Nissanka, Lahiru Udara, Shiran Fernando, Isuru Udana and Ishan Jayaratne to pick from.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa injured his knee while fielding in the second ODI and limped off. Pathum Nissanka might replace him in the playing XI.
Lakshan Sandakan was off the mark and a bit wayward in the 2nd ODI. Some might argue that he lost Sri Lanka the match. While his left arm mystery spin can be a challenge for the opposition, the hosts might like to bring in Praveen Jayawickrama to provide more control.
Predicted playing XIs:
Sri Lanka - Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera, Praveen Jayawickrama
India - Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan (wk), Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav
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