Selection dilemma for India in third ODI against Sri Lanka
Navdeep Saini and Chetan Sakariya could get a chance to play in the last game
India’s head coach Rahul Dravid will have to choose between experimenting and continuing the winning combination in his bid to ensure a clean sweep against Sri Lanka in the third and final one-day game in Colombo on Friday.
While the Shikhar Dhawan-led India won the first game by seven wickets, Deepak Chahar pulled off a heist in the second one with his match-winning unbeaten 69 as the visitors won by three wickets.
Now, it remains to be seen whether India continue with Prithvi Shaw, who got scores of 43 and 13, to partner the skipper at the top, or go in for the classy Devdutt Padikkal or an equally elegant Ruturaj Gaikwad – both superb List A players.
If Shaw gets another opportunity, he would be more than keen to get a big score, as he failed to convert his start in the first game.
Another dilemma for the team management would be whether to persist with the aggressive Ishan Kishan or give an opportunity to Sanju Samson to make his ODI debut.
The likes of Manish Pandey and the ever-improving Suryakumar Yadav are certain to maintain their places in the middle-order.
With vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar making it clear that there are no fitness issues with Hardik Pandya, the flamboyant Baroda player and his brother Krunal are expected to play.
There are times when every player does not want to rest and play each game, but the team management would need to consider the workload of the bowlers, as they are playing six matches in just 12 days in humid Sri Lankan conditions.
In the two previous games, the Indian bowlers managed to contain the inexperienced Sri Lankan batting-line up and pulled things back.
While Bhuvneshwar could continue to lead the attack, it remains to be seen whether the team management opts for young Navdeep Saini or uncapped left-arm pacer Chetan Sakariya in place of last game’s hero Deepak Chahar.
But Chahar, who has now shown that he can bat, is also a key player in the T20 set-up, and hence he could be rested ahead of the three T20 games.
The spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav (2/48 and 0/55) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2/52 and 3/50) did pretty well in the first two games.
But the team management could be tempted to give a chance to off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham and the talented Rahul Chahar.
For Sri Lanka, a win in the final game would do wonders to their confidence after nearly pulling off a win in the second game.
Opener Avishka Fernando has been among runs but needs support from the other batsmen.
Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur’s anger and disappointment was much visible in the last game, but he needs to bolster his players, especially his bowlers.
For Sri Lanka, the performance of leggie Wanindu Hasaranga, who picked three wickets in the last match, would also be crucial.
Match starts at 1:30pm UAE Time on Friday.
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