India looking to avenge Tests loss against Sri Lanka

August 17th, 2008 - 10:36 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
By Rex Clementine
Dambulla, Aug 17 (IANS) Fresh from a break, India’s one-day captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be eager to avenge the Test series loss against the Sri Lankans as the five-match one-dayers get underway Monday. The Indians, who have had trouble facing mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis would now also have Sanath Jayasuriya to tackle as the Sri Lankan opener returns to the side.

Mendis took a record shattering haul of 26 wickets in the Test series.

On the other hand, Jayasuriya’s average against the Indian team is better than his career average. The 39-year-old has scored 2,429 runs at 37.36 against the visitors. Of his 27 hundreds, six have come against India, including his career best 189.

“Jayasuriya can be compared to (Virender) Sehwag or (Adam) Gilchrist. It’s important not to let him have a good start. He is the sort of batsman who will take chances and when restricted will commit mistakes. It’s important to get Jayasuriya out early,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni also picked Mendis as the one who can make the difference in the series.

“Right now, if you see the statistics, it has been Mendis. He has been taking wickets for them. Previously they had (Mutiah) Muralitharan, now you have two specialist spinners who don’t really give loose balls to cash on, that’s the difference,” Dhoni said.

Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, and Rohit Sharma will be replacing the veterans in the middle order.

“We’ll look to play with five bowlers. We haven’t decided on the bowlers. We are looking at a six-five combination,” Dhoni said.

Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup defeating India in the finals, but they had a tough time in ODIs in recent times having suffered a first ever home series defeat to England last year. They were also beaten by the West Indies this year and failed to qualify for the finals of the Commonwealth Bank Series that involved Australia and India.

“We haven’t been consistent since the World Cup. I think batting has been a major worry. But it’s been eight months since we played in Australia and since then we have had Sanath returning to form and Kumar doing well. But now the important thing is to maintain that momentum,” Sri Lanka’s captain Mahela Jayawardene said.

Sri Lanka: (From)
Mahela Jayawardene (Captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Udawatte, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedara, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando, Ajantha Mendis, Thilina Tushara Mirando, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jehan Mubarak and Malinda Warnapura.

India (From)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Subramaniam Badrinath, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Munaf Patel and Pragyan Ojha.

Umpires: Billy Doctrove (WI) and Asoka de Silva (SL)
Third Umpire: Gamini Silva (SL)
Standby Umpire: Sena Nandaweera (SL)
Match Referee: Chris Broad (Eng)

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