Sri Lanka are set to face India in a limited-overs series beginning on July 13. While the teams will play as many as 3 ODIs first, they will face each other in a T20I series next of as many matches. The national team of the island country hasn't been in the best of form lately, however, they would look to put up a good fight against India who will be without some of their key players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.
Prior to the series, it is being learned that Dasun Shanaka has replaced Kusal Perera as Sri Lanka's white-ball captain. Moreover, the reason behind the appointment is not based purely on performance. Although Sri Lanka have not managed to put up a good show in any of the series under Perera, losing all them comfortably, the board and selectors have reportedly replaced him as he was found to have played a key role in the central contracts rift between the players and the board.
Amid all this chaos, only a win can give the country's cricketing aspirations a new belief and if it comes against a strong opponent like India, who knows it might turn out to be the spark that they need to get back on the winning track. Here is an attempt to look at their possible XI for the ODIs against India.
Top order: Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera (wk), Pathum Nissanka
The opening duo of Avishka Fernando and Kusal Perera are likely to be stuck with at least for the opening ODI. While Perera remains one of their main batters in the team and even managed a highest score of 73 during the recently concluded ODI series against England, Nissanka and Avishka weren't impressive at all in that away series. Nissanka accumulated just 16 runs in the three innings, Avishka managed the same number of runs from a couple of innings. In addition, Avishka and Kusal bring to the table a right-left hand combo as well as some experience. It's still early days in international cricket for Nissanka and they would like to give him a few days.
Middle order: Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka (c)
Post the top order, there could be a bit of reshuffling. While Charith Asalanka can be trusted with at number 4, the likes of Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka have been the real engine for the batting mostly because the top order hasn't tasted much success. Asalanka, who has played 2 ODIs till now, can even be tried later in the series but given that they would be starting the series afresh, this could be an ideal platform for him to get another go. The next three names in Hasaranga, de Silva and Shanaka were the highest run getters for Sri Lanka in the England series ending with tally of 100, 96 and 95, respectively. Shanaka is likely to be the captain of the side and would look to play a decisive knock early in the series to exert pressure on India and would also be a handy bowling option.
Bowlers: Chamika Karunaratne, Binura Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Asitha Fernando
As far as the bowling is concerned, it could pretty much have the same look as their XI against England. While Dushmantha Chameera ended up as the most successful Sri Lanka bowler in that series with 3 wickets in 2 innings, Chamika Karunaratne was the second best bowler for the team with a couple of wickets to his credit. While Binura Fernando also scalped a wicket, Asitha Fernando went wicketless in the only innings he got an opportunity to roll his arms over. Given that the matches will happen in their own conditions, the bowlers would know the exact length to bowl at on the surface and would look to ask tough questions from the Indian batting.