India on Sunday kicked off the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka with a thumping seven-wicket win at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The biggest highlight of India’s seven-wicket win was the performance of its young guns.
Prithvi Shaw set the tone with an attacking 43 off 23 balls that included nine boundaries.
Later, Ishan Kishan celebrated his 23rd birthday with a dazzling half-century on his Team India debut.
Shikhar Dhawan looked totally in control on his captaincy debut and is likely to go with the same squad for the second ODI.
However, if India win this match, we could some new faces in the third ODI.
India probable squad
Shikhar Dhawan (C), Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan (WK), Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav.
Sri Lanka struggling
The Lankan side in recent times has not played the best cricket.
They lost the white-ball series against England and their confidence is at an all-time low.
The non-availability of key players like Thisara Perera (who retired recently) and Angelo Mathews couldn’t have come at a worse time.
In ODI cricket, building partnerships is vital. However, the Lankans kept losing wickets at key junctures and could muster a highest partnership of only 49 runs.
The other area of improvement is reducing the number of dot balls. There were 159 in the first ODI.
The positives are that the openers (Fernando and Bhanuka) looked confident and as many as six batters crossed 20. If the Lankans can build on this, we could have a real contest on our hands.
On the bowling front, none of the Lankan bowlers troubled the Indian batters.
There is a possibility that they might include an extra spinner in the place of Isuru Udana.
The two names in contention are Akila Dananjaya and Praveen Jayawickrama.
Sri Lanka probable squad
Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka (WK), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (C), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Praveen Jayawickrama/Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan.
Warm and cloudy weather is predicted. The average temperature should be around 29 degrees Celsius, with minimal chance of rain.
The Premadasa Stadium is expected to be batting-friendly with some purchase for the spinners. Hence, a high-scoring contest is a possibility.
However, all six matches in this tour to be played at the same venue.
As a result, the pitches could get slower as the series progresses.
We believe that the gap between the two teams is too vast. Though Sri Lanka might play better, India could race to a 2-0 lead as they have excessive firepower in both batting and bowling.