India and Sri Lanka will play the third match in their ODI series at the Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, January 15th. The match is scheduled to begin at 1 pm local time.
This is effectively a dead rubber, because India have already won the series.
In Guwahati, they won by 67 runs, in a high scoring encounter, the highlight of which was Virat Kohli’s 45th ODI for his country.
The second ODI in Kolkata did not have the same entertainment value, but Sri Lanka squandered the advantage of winning the toss by allowing themselves to be bowled out for just 215.
India’s run chase was not totally convincing, but an unbeaten 64 from KL Rahul helped them reach their target with four wickets in hand.
Will India make changes
With the series already won, the temptation for the selectors might be to make a few changes for this match.
That might see Arshdeep Singh and Washington Sundar brought into the attack, with Mohammed Shami one man who could be rested. And there may be a temptation to give Suryakumar Yadav, the star of their 3rd T20I series, an opportunity in the longer form of the game.
Kuldeep Yadav, who was the Player of the Match in Kolkata, should get another opportunity, even if Deepak Chahal is fit again.
Sri Lanka Likely to be Unchanged
Sri Lanka are likely to be unchanged with Dilshan Madushanka still recovering from the shoulder injury that he picked up fielding in the first match. In truth, they have little alternatives that would seriously strengthen their team.
Visitors Need to Improve
Sri Lanka already know that they are going to have to come through the qualifying competition which starts in Zimbabwe in June, if they want to be involved in the World Cup later this year.
On the evidence of the series so far, that is by no means a foregone conclusion. They were out-batted in the first match, and, in the second, with the advantage of having won the toss in Kolkata, failed to post a competitive total.
Dasun Shanaka, their captain, has been the shining light for them on this white ball tour, but more players need to step up on a regular basis.
Dravid to miss the match
Indian coach Rahul Dravid will miss the game after he was taken ill before his side’s victory over Sri Lanka in the second match. He felt unwell in the hotel before the game, with his blood pressure reported to be high, and, although he stayed for the game itself after taking medication, he has returned to Bengaluru for further medical treatment.
The weather for Sunday is expected to be warm and sunny, with just the occasional cloud, and no chance of rain. Temperatures should be around 31 degrees Celsius at the start of the match, getting cooler in the evening.
To date, the Greenfield International Stadium has acquired the reputation of being a poor batting track, and bowlers have enjoyed the upper hand. It played host to a T20I between India and Sri Lanka last year, and it was the bowlers on both sides who held sway.
There has been only one previous ODI staged on this ground and that was back in 2014, when the West Indies were the visitors, and they were bowled out for just 104.
In that match, the seamers enjoyed early joy, before the spinners then got to work.
The boundaries in Thiruvananthapuram are not huge, so if batters can play themselves in, they can dividends.
The surface will be slow, however, and with the due set to be a factor, the informed choice is to bat first if winning the toss.
India will begin as clear favourites to win tins match and complete the series whitewash.
However, they know that there will be much harder tests to come before the World Cup begins, and they will be looking for good performances from the team.
This is likely to be a match where the bowlers dominate, so the pacers can expect to be among the wickets. Spin also could play a part and Kuldeep Yadav, in particular, will be looking to follow-up his good work at Eden Gardens with another fine spell.
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