Sri Lanka bounced back well in the Test series by drawing the Delhi Test match after their senior statesman Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews batted them out of travel and gave a glimpse of their potential.
They will be lead by a new captain in Thisara Perera after the Sri Lanka Cricket Board decided to snub Dinesh Chandimal from the ODI squad. Perera will now have an added responsibility of leading the side and bring in more responsibility to his all-round abilities.
Another important change which Sri Lanka brings back to the squad is the Angelo Mathews factor. He is the most experienced Sri Lankan cricketer in the squad and will be key in helping Sri Lanka to defy all norms to a series win. Irrespective of his age or form, Angelo Mathews still remains probably the most vital cog in Sri Lanka's wobbly wheel, across all formats. And the fighting century in Delhi Test comes as a timely reminder of just why he is indispensable to the team even if he's discharging only half the usual responsibilities. After relinquishing captaincy duties in the wake of a humiliating ODI series loss to Zimbabwe at home earlier this year, and a lengthy injury-plagued stretch that kept him out of action on and off, Mathews showed a glimpse of his class by pulling his team out of puddles time and again in the Tests.
Add to that the prospect of resuming bowling cometh the ODIs, having recovered sufficiently. For the visitors to have any chance at salvaging lost pride, it is of paramount importance that Mathews continues to lead by example - captain or not.
The Sri Lankan bowling line-up apart from Mathews has the likes of Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep. Lakmal was impressive in the Test series and will be a key figure in the ODIs as well. The rest of the bowling lineup is an unknown commodity which is yet to be explored.
Team India finds itself in a totally opposite position as compared to their counterpart. Settled line up and comeback of ODI specialists gives the team the solid look that it has been wearing now since the last 2 years almost. Virat Kohli has been given a much-needed rest after he has been playing continuous cricket since the last 48 months. Rohit Sharma will be leading the team in his absence and will bring all his experience of leading Mumbai Indians to three IPL titles.
One important observation will be Ajinkya Rahane’s form. The Mumbaikar has been hugely short of runs in recent times and in the recent test series win he has just one double-digit score in the entire Test series. The selectors have however backed him keeping in mind India’s next tour to South Africa and that he will be key for India at number six in Test matches. Before that, he is given a long run to bounce back to form.
The Indian middle order has plenty of options to choose from with Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Shreyas Iyer. It will be interesting to see how their players are being revolved around in the 3 match ODI series.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be back in the team along with his fast bowling partner Jasprit Bumrah. Chahal and Kuldeep are regulars in the side now and partnering them will be Axar Patel who has been roped in the squad keeping in mind the Sri Lankan right-handers.
Another major breakthrough inclusion in the squad has been Siddharth Kaul. The Punjab pacer has finally made it through after proving his metal in the domestic circuit for almost 10 years. His inclusion will give the Indian bowling line up all the more edge.
Thus both teams go into the series with two very different aims. While for Sri Lanka it is a chance to bounce back to winning ways, for India it is about continuing their good return and their preparation for the upcoming tour to South Africa.
India: Rohit Sharma(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul
Sri Lanka Thisara Perera(c), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Chaturanga de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushmantha Chameera, Sachith Pathirana, Kusal Perera