Millennium Post

Ruthless India hungry for more

Ruthless India hungry for more
Having already pocketed the series, a rampaging India would like to continue their dominance as a hapless Sri Lanka look to salvage some pride during the penultimate game of the five-match ODI rubber at the Eden Gardens on Thursday. Led by the flamboyant Virat Kohli, India have outplayed the islanders, handing them crushing defeats in the first three ODIs to take an unassailable lead in the series.

With the selectors resting regular opener Shikhar Dhawan, all eyes will be on Robin Uthappa, who last played for India in June. Rohit Sharma, returning to the squad after a two-month injury layoff, is also bound to grab the spotlight. Cracking two 50s and a century, Dhawan has scored 283 runs to be the top-scorer so far.

However, there is disappointment in store for the home crowd as local boy and keeper Wriddhiman Saha has been rested. Uthappa, who keeps for IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders, is expected to don the gloves. If required, Ambati Rayudu can also take up wicketkeeping duties. Tweaking the squad for the last two games, selectors have brought in Karn Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Kedar Jadhav and rested Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Saha, Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay and Varun Aaron.

The visitors too have shuffled their squad and are looking up to old war-horse Mahela Jayawardene, who hit a sparkling century in the last ODI and dashing opener Tillakaratne Dilshan for their resurgence. Plagued by poor batting display, Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews had no qualms in accepting their poor performance.

Kumar Sangakkara along with Dhammika Prasad, Suraj Randiv and Upul Tharanga have been replaced by the fresh and experienced legs of Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Ajantha Mendis and Shaminda Eranga.

The mystery spin of Mendis and Eranga’s speed is expected to give teeth to the Lankan attack that has looked listless in the absence of pace spearhead Lasith Malinga and spinner Rangana Herath. Having snared eight wickets in the series, Umesh Yadav would spearhead India’s pace attack while leggie Karn, who has also found a place in the Australia-bound Test squad, may get a look in. Kohli, leading with elan, has already amplified the desire of making India a ruthless team.

Kohli, who has been named captain for the opening Test against Australia in December, would hope to continue his good run both as skipper and with the bat.

Having beaten the Lankans twice in four games with one yielding no result at the Eden, the hosts are favourites and would also like to try out different batting and bowling combinations especially with less than 100 days before the 2015 ICC ODI World Cup.
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