Sri Lanka and India finally get the chance to get their delayed ODI series underway on Sunday and they will do so in Colombo when the first of the three ODIs take place. As well as an ODI series in its own right this is also another chance to earn Super Series points.
Those points are in bigger need for Sri Lanka who have had a bit of a mare in this format of the game in recent times. India would still like them but there is no chance they are going to need to go through qualifying for the World Cup regardless of what happens in this series.
The Sri Lankans go into this series off the back of a mess of a performance against England recently. That 2-0 series loss was overshadowed by off field issues and that is no different here either. On that occasion it was a breach of Covid protocols which was the problem. This time around it is a contract dispute. You do wonder if Sri Lanka will ever get the chance to just focus on a game of cricket again without the sideshows that follow them around.
When they are on the cricket pitch, Sri Lanka are having problems with the bat. Those problems started this year in the West Indies and were then massively exposed in England recently. That needs to improve if they are ever going to be a force in the 50 over game once again. They have a couple of years to find something in time for the next World Cup but if they don’t find it sooner than later then they will have to go to qualifying to compete in that tournament and anything can happen there. The positive is that one or two bowlers are beginning to come to the party.
The majority of the India ODI side are over in England getting ready for a Test series so this will be a largely second string side out in Sri Lanka doing battle for the Indians. This is a chance for them to show the strength in depth they have in the 50 over game, much like England have shown recently. If they can not just come out on top in this series but do it the way the full strength India side would then the outlook will be looking very strong for India.
Usually we are accustomed to seeing India dominate 50 over matches with the bat and strangle sides with the ball so we will be looking out for the second string to do that here. When you look down their squad for this series it still seems very strong but there is no Virat Kohli to rely on here so it will be interesting to see if someone steps up and delivers the goods in his absence. The same can probably be said with the ball in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah.
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Dasun Shanaka will take the captaincy reins from the injured Kusal Perera. It is likely to be Minod Bhanuka to come in as wicket-keeper while Bhanuka Rajapaksa could be the latest incumbent into the batting order.
India are toying with the idea of playing three spinners although they will only be able to do that if Hardik Pandya is now cleared to bowl. Yuzvendra Chahal has been confirmed as the main spinner which leaves Krunal Pandya and one of Kuldeep Yadav, Rahul Chahar or Varun Chakravarthy as the other options.
This isn’t going to be an easy match to bet on because we don’t really know the strength of the India side with so many changes and Sri Lanka could be absolutely anything in their present state so I’m going to keep bets to a minimum while I assess the situation within the two sides. Common sense tells me there is one bet which should be a good thing though. That comes in the form of the player performance markets.
The player I like here is Dasun Shanaka, the Sri Lanka captain for this match. That means he’ll be able to control when he bowls and I would imagine he will give himself a few overs along the way. He should do because his team might go round the park so any overs he can help out will be needed. He has a performance line of 27.5 points in this match and he can actually cover that with the bat. In his last two matches against England he made 47 and 48* and although he has never played an ODI against India, he has played T20s against them and in the five matches he has bowled against them in he has a two wicket haul and a three wicket one. As captain he is likely to be fielding close to the bat so a catch isn’t out of the question so there are plenty of ways of scoring and getting past 27.5 points.
Back D.Shanaka’s Performance – Over 27.5pts for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365