India and Sri Lanka are gearing up for the second of the five-match One Day International series at Pallekele on Thursday, August 24.
The hosts will be gearing up to play their 800th ODI game, but they are not heading into the landmark match on the right note, following poor results in the recent past.
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After the 3-0 drubbing in the Test series earlier this month, Sri Lanka were crushed in the first ODI in Dambulla by nine wickets on Sunday, August 20, thanks to dominant performances from Indian spinners, skipper Virat Kohli and opener Shikhar Dhawan.
Sri Lanka could manage only 216 after losing the toss as India's spin trio of Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kedar Yadav picked up seven wickets between them to skittle the Sri Lankan batting unit, which failed to capitalise on the good start given by openers Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka.
In reply, India just lost a wicket as Dhawan and Kohli stitched a 197-run stand for the and gunned down the total in just 28.5 overs to complete the mauling.
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India are unlikely to change the playing XI on Thursday despite concerns remaining over the inefficiency of new ball bowlers to pick up early wickets. Dickwella, Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis are capable of hurting India, but skipper Kohli will hope Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya come up with better returns in the first powerplay.
On the other hand, spinners Axar and Chahal will get an extended run after their solid performance in Dambulla. The middle order was untested in the first ODI and thus it makes no sense for the team management to tinker with the batting line-up.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka would be tempted to replace Thisara Perera, who had a poor outing both with the bat and the ball in Dambulla, with all-rounder Milinda Siriwardana. However, pacer friendly conditions in Pallekele might work in favour of the former.
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Chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan is unlikely to find a place in the playing XI after his woeful -- 63 for 0 in 6 overs -- show in Dambulla. Off-spinner Akila Dhanajaya is likely to be included as Upul Tharanga would want his spinners to keep the Indian batsmen quiet.
Pitch and conditions
Pallekele wicket offers greater assistance to pacers. HOwever, spinners have also gone on to trouble oppositions in the past.
In 2016, Mitchell Starc-led Australian pace bowling attack had picked up six of the 10 wickets as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 195.
There are reported chances of showers in the evening as well.
Possible XI: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
Possible XI: Upul Tharanga (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Chamara Kapugedera, Dushmantha Chameera, Milinda Siriwardana, Vishwa Fernando, Lasith Malinga, Akila Dhananjaya