India eye clean sweep, Lanka to play for pride in final ODI
Colombo [Sri Lanka], September 3 : India will eye their first ODI whitewash since 2013 while Sri Lanka will be looking to end what has been a disappointing home season so far on a positive note with victory in the fifth and final match at the R. Premdasa Stadium on Sunday.Defeat will mean India sweeping the series 5-0, having already won the three-Test series 3-0. There is a one-off T20I to be played on Wednesday, and that is when the tour formally comes to a close, but a win there will not mean as much as it would in the last ODI of this series.
Sri Lanka had needed to win at least two matches to ensure West Indies would have no chance of going ahead in the qualification race for the ICC World Cup 2019. However, losing the fourth ODI by a huge margin of 168, their greatest in terms of runs on home soil, thrashed their dreams of direct qualification for the prestigious quadrennial tournament.
But winning the fifth ODI will ensure the path is tougher for Windies. Apart from that, it is also a chance for Sri Lanka to show that it can bounce back in the face of adversity.
Ever since India ensured the series win in the third ODI though, the team management has been in more of a mood to experiment. Skipper Virat Kohli started with a set Playing XI and stuck to it for the first three games.
But for the fourth ODI, he made three changes, bringing in Shardul Thakur, Manish Pandey and Kuldeep Yadav for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kedar Jadhav and Yuzvendra Chahal respectively.
Going by what Kohli said on Thursday after winning the match, he was planning on sticking to the same eleven for the upcoming game, but because of a late development on Saturday, he will be forced to make one change.
Shikhar Dhawan will travel to India on the morning of the game to be by his ailing mother, and he will also miss the sole T20I.
This means Ajinkya Rahane, the team's third opener, will finally get a chance to bat in the limited-overs leg of the series. Such is India's strength that it could afford to have someone of Rahane's ability on the bench for four games.
The hosts, on the other hand, have lost a bunch of batsmen to injuries. The good news is that Upul Tharanga will return to captaining the side after having served his two-match ban for a slow over-rate offence in the second game at Pallekele.
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Milinda Siriwardana, Akila Dananjaya, Malinda Pushpakumara, Vishwa Fernando, Lasith Malinga.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (capt), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.