Sri Lanka vow to fight despite tall orderJuly 30, 2012, 9:29 pm
by Rex Clementine
Sri Lanka’s best batsman in 2012 has been Kumar Sangakkara while their second best bowler this year has been Nuwan Kulasekara. Trailing the current ODI series against India 1-2, the hosts will go into today’s fourth ODI at R. Premadasa Stadium without both those key men, who were injured during the series.
While Kulasekara sustained a groin injury during the first ODI at Suriyawewa, Sangakkara fractured his little finger on the right hand on Saturday during the third ODI in Colombo. Both players are ruled out of the remainder of the series.
Coach Graham Ford admitted it was a massive blow for the side, but vowed to keep fighting.
"It is a tough ask and we have to deal with it. We don’t have two of our important players available, but it’s an opportunity for us to find out more about others. As I have said many a times, one thing that I have known about the Sri Lankan team is that they are great fighters. Very often when times are tough that’s when they produce their best performances," Ford told journalists yesterday.
So good has been Sangakkara this year that he is the only international cricketer to have scored over 1000 runs in the calendar year in ODIs. The prolific left-hander has amassed 1111 in 2012 at an average of 46 and a strike rate of 80 with three hundreds and six fifties.
"If you look at his statistics, it’s absolutely brilliant. To take a player of his caliber out of the team is a huge blow and it’s tough for the team. The other guys have to fight back much harder and hopefully make up for the difference. It’s a team game and it’s not about one individual. We have lost a great individual unfortunately, but we have another group of guys out for the challenge," Ford added.
Dinesh Chandimal will keep wickets in the absence of Sangakkara while left-handed Lahiru Thirimanne is expected to play at number three.
Sri Lanka will also bring in fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep in place of Isuru Udana.
For India meanwhile, middle order batsman Rohit Sharma is under tremendous pressure after making successive ducks in his last two games. Manoj Tiwary, who made a hundred in his last ODI is expected to play in place of him.
Sri Lanka (Probable XI): T. M. Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal (Wicketkeeper), Mahela Jayawardene (Captain), Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath and Nuwan Pradeep.
India: (Probable XI): Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, M. S. Dhoni (Captain and Wicketkeeper), Manoj Tiwary, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav and Pragyan Ojha.
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Last Updated May 23 2013 | 10:49 pm