Sri Lanka will face India in the first ODI of Unacademy’s three-match ODI series on Sunday 18 July at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The ODI series was scheduled to start on Tuesday, July 13, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 cases in the Sri Lankan camp.
The three-game ODI series will conclude on July 23. This will be followed by CoinDCX’s 3-match T20I series starting July 25. The R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo will host all six matches.
India has sent a completely different 20-member team than the one currently in England, a feat that is a testament to the strength of its bank. Shikhar Dhawan is the Indian captain of this tour, in the absence of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar as his deputy.
Ten out of twenty players from India have yet to make their ODI debuts, and fans are excited to see these established IPL stars shine on the international stage. NCA Director Rahul Dravid will be India’s head coach for this tour. He has already worked with many of these players in the NCA, and it will be exciting to see the kind of impact he has on this young team.
Sri Lanka, for its part, will not have skipper Kusal Perera, who suffered a shoulder injury. They will also be without the services of senior hitters Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella, who were suspended following a biobubble rupture during the England tour.
Sri Lanka has announced a relatively inexperienced 24-member squad for the ODI and T20I under the multifaceted leadership of Dasun Shanaka. All-rounder Ishan Jayaratne, hitter Lahiru Udara and closer Shiran Fernando are the limitless players in their setup.
Sri Lanka lost 3-0 in the ODI series against England and their previous ODI series 2-1 against Bangladesh. However, they will be looking to surprise at home, with some unknown and possibly revolutionary names on their team.
With both sides possessing some young and exciting talents, we could be on display for cricket for the next ten days.
Date: July 18, 2021 (Sunday)
Time: 03:00 PM (Local), 3:00 PM (IST), and 09:30 AM (GMT)
Venue: R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
The 1st ODI could be interrupted by rain, with a 20% chance of showers expected on Sunday. It should be a warm and humid day in Colombo, with an average temperature of around 29 degrees celsius.
The wicket at the R Premadasa Stadium should be on the slower side, with batting likely to be more difficult as the game goes on. The surface should assist the spinners more. However, the pacers could get some assistance with the new ball.
Pathum Nissanka should open the batting with Avishka Fernando for Sri Lanka, with Bhanuka Rajapaksa set to make his return to the team at No.3. There’s a toss-up between Minod Bhanuka and the uncapped Lahiru Udara for the wicket-keeper’s slot.
The trio of Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva and Wanindu Hasranga will form the spine of this Sri Lankan team, with their flexible batting approach vital in the ODI format. Hasaranga has arguably been Sri Lanka’s best player over the last year or so, and he will be their X-Factor on this tour.
Dhananjaya de Silva could potentially miss out on the 1st ODI due to a niggle. Ramesh Mendis should take his place in that case.
Isuru Udana, Dushmantha Chameera and Chamika Karunaratne should be Sri Lanka’s seamers for this match. Chameera was excellent on Sri Lanka’s tour of England, and he’ll look to rattle the Indian batters with the new ball come Sunday. Akila Dananjaya and Praveen Jayawickrama should battle it out for the third spin-bowler’s slot.
Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Minod Bhanuka/Lahiru Udara(WK), Bhanuka Rajapaksa/ Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva/ Ramesh Mendis, Dasun Shanaka(C), Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Chamika Karunaratne/ Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, and Praveen Jayawickrama/ Akila Dananjaya.
India should open with Delhi Capitals’ dashing opening duo of skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw. The impressive Suryakumar Yadav is slated to make his ODI debut, batting as a floater in the top order. Manish Pandey is likely to bat at No.4, but India could add more left-right balance to their top-order by handing Devdutt Padikkal his ODI debut, albeit at No.3.
Sanju Samson should be India’s first-choice wicket-keeper for the tour ahead of Ishan Kishan. Hardik and Krunal Pandya are likely to be India’s two all-rounders.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar should be India’s lead pacer, and he should be accompanied by one of Navdeep Saini and Deepak Chahar. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav should be India’s primary spinners for the match, though there is an outside chance for Varun Chakravarthy to make his debut.
India: Shikhar Dhawan(C), Prithvi Shaw, Manish Pandey/ Devdutt Padikkal, Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson(WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar/ Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Kuldeep Yadav.
While it would be unwise to write this talented Sri Lankan team off, especially on home soil, India seem to be the stronger side on paper. India also have had plenty of time to unwind and relax before these games, while Sri Lanka come off a comprehensive whitewash at the hands of England.
While Sri Lanka are more than capable of upsetting the visitors, that is unlikely to happen in the 1st ODI.
Prediction: India to win
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