ODI series preview: India v Sri Lanka

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The five-match ODI series between India and Sri Lanka kicks off in Cuttack, with neither side boasting their strongest squads, at least for the first three games, given the hasty arrangement of the event.

Sri Lanka were roped into playing this series to fill the gap left by the West Indies, who abandoned their tour to India with a number of games, including three Tests, unplayed.

Sri Lanka’s coach and skipper have already bemoaned the lack of preparation time, given they were in the middle of a break after a long year, and have gone so far as to say they don’t really care if they win. They’re using it as World Cup research more than anything.

This is seen in their selection choices, with a number of key players either injured or rested. Lasith Malinga (hurt), Rangana Herath, Dinesh Chandimal, and Ajantha Mendis are all missing, giving chances to youngsters like Lahiru Gamage.

The batting line up is strong though, with veterans Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara all present, joining skipper of the year, Angelo Mathews. Lahiru Thirimanne is not there though.

While Sri Lanka have their skipper, India do not. MS Dhoni has opted to sit out the first three games, giving Virat Kohli the chance to show his leadership credentials away from the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Kohli will be eager to get some runs on the board after his dismal tour to England and the resulting backlash. He seemed to make a return to form against the West Indies though, scoring a half ton and 127.

India’s batting is still impressive though, but still without Rohit Sharma, who is playing for India A while he recovers from a finger injury. Murali Vijay is on hand to fill the gap alongside Shikhar Dhawan.

The hosts are missing their best pacemen though, with Mohammed Shami ruled out with an injury and replaced by Dhawal Kulkarni, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been rested. Varun Aaron and Ravi Ashwin have been recalled, while Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav provide the experience.

Key Men
For the hosts, they will look to all-rounder Suresh Raina for a match-winning effort. He was brilliant in England, and the key reason they won the ODI series, and added two half tons to his records against the Windies.

Sri Lanka’s key man is skipper Angelo Mathews. He has been a delight in 2014, leading his side to the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20 titles, and averaged over 90 in their most recent ODI series, against Pakistan.

Last Five Head-To-Head Results
2014 Asia Cup: Sri Lanka won by two wickets in Fatullah
2013 tri series: India won by one wicket in Port of Spain
2013 tri-series: India won by 81 runs in Port of Spain
2013 tri-series: Sri Lanka won by 161 runs in Kingston
2013 Champions Trophy: India won by eight wickets in Cardiff

Squads
India: Virat Kohli (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhawal Kulkarni, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, M Vijay, Varun Aaron, Akshar Patel.

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Ashan Priyanjan, Niroshan Dickwella, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Lahiru Gamage, Chaturanga de Silva, Seekuge Prasanna, Suraj Randiv.

Fixtures
First ODI: 2 November in Cuttack
Second ODI: 6 November in Ahmedabad
Third ODI: 9 November in Hyderabad
Fourth ODI: 13 November in Kolkata
Fifth ODI: 16 November in Ranchi

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