Death bowling in focus as India look to seal Lanka series


Young guns Ishan Kishan and Prithvi Shaw had a good outing with the bat in the first ODI against Sri Lanka, and the Indian team management would now expect clinical performances from them as the Shikhar Dhawan-led side looks to gain an unassailable lead in the three-match series on Tuesday.

Kishan scored 59 while Shaw played a knock of 43 to help India get off to a flier in the first ODI, and on the back of Shikhar Dhawan’s calm 86-run knock, the visitors scripted a seven-wicket win. Chasing 263, the Dhawan-led outfit was clinical and there is no area that needs major reworking. Suryakumar Yadav coming into bat at number five scored 31 off 20 balls with the help of five boundaries and he along with Dhawan ensured India cruised home with 80 balls to spare. If one wants to look at loopholes in batting, then probably it was just Manish Pandey, who did not look his fluent self and he scored 26 off 40 balls.

With youngsters breathing down his neck, Pandey needs to make every opportunity count and in the next two ODIs, the right-handed batsman would definitely be under pressure. The spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal played a match together for the first time since the 2019 World Cup match against England. Both spinners took two wickets each during the middle phase and the duo looked their old self and it augurs well for the team if they are able to gain their confidence back.

Death bowling remains a concern though for this Indian outfit and that is something coach Rahul Dravid would want his wards to address. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was not able to execute his yorkers at the backend, and as a result, he conceded runs and Sri Lanka’s tailenders took the team’s score past the 260-run mark.

Bhuvneshwar conceded 63 runs from his nine overs and he gave runs at 7 per over. Ever since making a comeback from injury, Bhuvneshwar hasn’t looked his old self and he would hope that he can slowly gain his form back in the remaining matches of the tour.

Krunal Pandya and Hardik Pandya also had a good outing with the ball. Both of them took one wicket apiece. Hardik’s bowling was a pleasant sign as he remains one of the vital cogs in the T20 World Cup scheme of things.

Hardik might have bowled just five overs, but it is a positive sign that he has started to bowl in the 50-over format. Krunal completed his quota of ten overs and he conceded just 26 runs, not giving an inch to the opposition.For Sri Lanka, it will be about hitting the reboot button and starting afresh as there wasn’t much to talk about when it comes to the hosts’ performance in the opening game of the series.

The lack of experience was clearly visible as the young Indian outfit looked in complete control.

Squads: India: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Chetan Sakariya, Sanju Samson, Krishnappa Gowtham, Nitish Rana, Navdeep Saini, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy, Devdutt Padikkal.

Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Isuru Udana, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Pathum Nissanka, Akila Dananjaya, Ishan Jayaratne , Ramesh Mendis, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando, Ashen Bandara, Praveen Jayawickrama, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Lahiru Udara, Shiran Fernando.