As much as Sri Lanka, India would also be keen to beat the weather when the two sides meet at the Kennington Oval in London on Thursday for their ICC Champions Trophy Group B clash. Both sides have played one match each and while India decimated Pakistan, the Sri Lankans were handed a loss by South Africa. While there is little doubt that India should win if the match goes its length, the weather gods may intervene yet again, as they did during India’s previous game, making the equation that much more testing.
Virat Kohli will be left with the interesting choice of whether to set a score or chase, since the Duckworth/Lewis System (DLS) that commands the scoring in rain-affected matches, did not do India any favours in the Pakistan game.
India can’t afford to set a good score and then have the asking rate shaved off when they field. But given the fact that India can set very heavy targets and then defend them, Kohli would likely stick to Plan A – field first.
If the Indian team has any concerns, it would be the fielding. While the side by and large is an efficient unit in the field, the Pakistan match was a nightmare. It was only because Pakistan were worse in all aspect of the game that India polished off a big win.
Sri Lanka are not likely to give an inch on that aspect, so India will have to tighten up their ground fielding and the abysmal catching, in double-quick time.
On paper, the two sides are a total mismatch. While India ticked almost all the boxes in their victory against Pakistan, the Sri Lankans, in their opening fixture, looked as if they have only entered the tournament to add numbers.
The winners of the last edition have a formidable batting line-up, which is being backed very well by a potent bowling attack.
The form and fitness of regular Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews is a cause for concern, while senior opener Upul Tharanga’s two-match suspension has added insult to injury.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickewalla, Chamara Kapugedara, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Sekkuge Prasanna, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga, Asela Gunaratne, Nuwan Kulasekara.