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India could test bench strength in fourth ODI

Ind vs SL, 4th ODI: Preview

Sri Lanka, to be led by Lasith Malinga, must up its game to reverse the trend of recent unfavourable results.

Things haven’t gone well for Sri Lanka on the field of late, and it doesn’t have much time to lick its wounds with the fourth of five One-Day Internationals against India set for Thursday at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Indications are that India, 3-0 up in the series, will make some changes to its frontline.

Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav are the ones who have not featured in the three games so far. Pandey, Thakur and Kuldeep are most likely to make it to the XI. If that happens, Pandey should come in for Kedar Jadhav, who has had a poor run, and Kuldeep will replace Yuzvendra Chahal, while either Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Jasprit Bumrah will make way for Thakur.

There’s no reason to believe Rahane, the seniormost of the lot, won’t get a shot. Depending on the team management’s plan, he could either replace one of Rohit Sharma or Shikhar Dhawan, the in-form openers, or the out-of-sorts KL Rahul.

Lasith Malinga, on 299 wickets, will captain his side in absence of Chamara Kapugedera and Upul Tharanga.
Lasith Malinga, on 299 wickets, will captain his side in absence of Chamara Kapugedera and Upul Tharanga.

All of these changes are subject to the degree to which India wants to experiment, while Sri Lanka has been forced to change its XIs, and indeed its squads, and captains, all the way.

Lasith Malinga, on 299 ODI wickets, will lead the side on the morrow, after Chamara Kapugedera – himself a stand-in skipper after Upul Tharanga was suspended for two games because of his team’s slow over-rate in the second ODI – was ruled out with a back injury. Dhananjaya de Silva and Dilshan Munaweera have also been drafted into the squad, but whether they will get a game straight away or not remains to be seen.

One way or the other, MS Dhoni’s place in the Indian XI is assured. After all, on Thursday, he will be taking the field for the 300th time in ODIs, joining Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin and Yuvraj Singh in the list of Indians who have reached the milestone number.

A team dinner has been planned to mark the occasion after the game so, one way or the other, the Indians are going to be celebrating. Can Sri Lanka spoil the taste of the party somewhat?

Teams (from)
Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (capt), Dilshan Munaweera, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Milinda Siriwardana, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Akila Dananjaya, Vishwa Fernando, Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Thisara Perera, Malinda Pushpakumara, Lakshan Sandakan.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.

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