Asia Cup 2022: India face do-or-die Sri Lanka test today

Sri Lanka don’t quite possess the big weapons like Pakistan, but they have a team that is on a mission to bring some joy to a long-suffering country



India have their task cut out against Sri Lanka in the Super Four of the Asia Cup. — AFP
India have their task cut out against Sri Lanka in the Super Four of the Asia Cup. — AFP
by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Tue 6 Sep 2022, 1:43 PM

Last updated: Tue 6 Sep 2022, 2:04 PM

Less than 48 hours after being chastened by Pakistan’s all-round depth, India will look to pick up the pieces when they take on Sri Lanka in the do-or-die DP World Asia Cup clash at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

Rohit Sharma’s men opted against having a training session on Monday with the team needing to recharge their batteries following a bruising battle against the bitter rivals that went to the last over.

Sri Lanka don’t quite possess the big weapons like Pakistan, but they have a team that is on a mission to bring some joy to a long-suffering country.

The island country was scheduled to host this year’s Asia Cup, but the acute economic and political crisis forced the organisers to move the tournament to the UAE.

Their tournament got off to a nightmarish start when they were bowled out for 105 by Afghanistan in the opener.

But Dasun Shanaka’s team bounced back with a two-wicket win over Bangladesh in a high-scoring epic before clinically dismantling the Afghans in the first Super Four clash.

The Lankans could not have peaked at a better time and the most impressive aspect of their resurgence is the contribution from each player.

Chasing a big total against Afghanistan, four of their batsmen came up with solid 30 plus knocks, dragging the team home without a single big knock.

Opener Kusal Mendis scored a superbly-paced 60 against Bangladesh before giving the team a flying start against Afghanistan when they had to chase a big total in Sharjah.

Mendis will be key once again to the Lankan fortunes. On a Dubai pitch that has stopped assisting the swing bowlers, the Mendis-inspired Lankan batting line-up will fancy their chances against India which failed to defend 182 against Pakistan on Sunday.

Kohli finds his groove

Despite the last-over defeat to Pakistan, India came back from the engrossing battle with a few positives.

And the biggest of them all is Virat Kohli.

In the middle of a prolonged search for the top form which made him one of the greatest players to have picked up a cricket bat, Kohli looked shaky in the first match against Pakistan on August 28.

The former captain didn’t look at ease with himself against Hong Kong either despite scoring a half-century.

But he showed flashes of old brilliance on Sunday with a finely-crafted 60 off 44 balls against Pakistan.

If India hadn’t lost wickets at regular intervals, Kohli would have been able to produce the final flourish.

"Today I was making a conscious effort to strike at a higher pace," he said after the match on Sunday. "When we lost wickets, there was communication and our plans changed. If there were a couple of batters, I would've gone with the same tempo and tried to hit more boundaries or sixes.”

While Kohli finding some sort of form is good news for Indian cricket ahead of this year’s T20 World Cup (October 16-November 13) in Australia, for the team to avoid an early exit from the Asia Cup, the middle-order needs to show some spark.

Openers KL Rahul and Rohit were outstanding in giving India a flying start on Sunday, but it was the middle-order that failed to support Kohli.

Suryakumar Yadav, who played a couple of magical T20 knocks over the past one month, will get another opportunity to produce a match-turning innings.

But perhaps it will be better for India if they take a leaf out of the Lankan book on chipping in with several important contributions than relying on a big innings from one player.

SQUADS:

India: Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravi Bishnoi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin.

Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (C), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Ashen Bandara, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana, Nuwanidu Fernando, Dinesh Chandimal.

MATCH INFO:

India vs Sri Lanka

Dubai International Cricket Stadium

6 p.m UAE Time

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

Matches: 25

India won: 17

Sri Lanka won: 7

No result: 1


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