Will India’s batting or Lanka’s spin decide series?
First of five one - dayers begins today:
India’s awesome batting line up against Sri Lanka’s formidable spin
attack will decide the outcome when the two teams begin another five
match one day international series with a day game at the Rangiri
Dambulla International Stadium today.
The Indian batting will be boosted by the return of dashing opener
Virender Sehwag and veteran Sachin Tendulkar who both missed the last
one day series in Sri Lanka due to injuries. India will have to deal
with a pair of quality spinners as Ajantha Mendis has formed a
formidable combination with Muttiah Muralitharan since making his one
day international debut in the West Indies last year.
Mystery spinner Mendis played a leading role in his team’s 2-1 Test
series victory against India at home last year when he claimed 26
wickets which is the highest by a debutante in a three match series.
Mendis who recently became the fastest to complete 50 wickets in one
dayers achieving the feat in only 19 matches has also claimed a total of
19 wickets in six one dayers against India.
In addition champion off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is poised to
complete a record bowling double during this series.
The veteran spinner is just three wickets short of overcoming former
Pakistani fast bowler Wasim Akram’s world record of 502 one day wickets
having grabbed 500 in 324 matches so far.
Muralitharan who is also the world’s leading bowler in Tests with 769
wickets in 125 matches, will become only the second player after Indian
batsman Sachin Tendulkar to hold two major cricketing records.
Muralitharan will once again be the focus during the series as Sri
Lanka will be depending heavily on him to avenge their 3-2 defeat
against Mahendra Dhoni’s team at home last August.
This series also has great importance for Sri Lanka who will be
hoping to improve on their position in the International Cricket Council
(ICC) team rankings. Currently placed in the seventh position just one
ratings point behind England, Sri Lanka has just come back after a
successful 2-1 series victory in Pakistan and could end up third in the
table if they could win the series 5-0.
That scoreline would yield seven points for Sri Lanka and would drop
India down below New Zealand into fifth position. Meanwhile India can
join Australia and South Africa for the championship race if they can
enjoy a good series.
If India emerge victorious in all five they will finish the series on
123 ratings points and in real contention at the top of the ICC ODI