It looks like the eleventh-hour scheduling of this series has caught Sri Lanka completely off guard. At the pre-match press conference in Cuttack on Saturday, captain Angelo Mathews was asked about the team’s intensity level. His response was iffy. “Well, until tomorrow (when the game starts) I can’t comment on that. I’m not here to make excuses. We are here to play good cricket. We were a bit rusty in the practice game (lost by 88 runs), but we hope to get that right,” said Mathews.
“As soon as we got to know we are coming to India we had to change our plans. We were concentrating on our fitness. But now that we are here, all that has to change. It’s a challenge and as players, we need to adapt as soon as possible,” he added.
This series will allow the visitors to check their bench strength ahead of the World Cup. Especially on the bowling front, with Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath absent.
“Malinga is injured and Rangana has been left out because we want to have a look at Suraj Randiv and others. As far as the World Cup is concerned, a good series here will help raise the confidence level,” Mathews explained. Sri Lanka will pose a tough challenge.
They’ve won the Asia Cup, World T20, and ODI and Test series in England earlier this year. Placed fourth in the ICC ODI rankings and separated from India (third) only by two rating points, the Islanders have the batting wherewithal to make this a close affair.
Raina’s double ton
Suresh Raina will play his 200th ODI tomorrow. The 27-year-old has 4,956 runs from 199 matches with four centuries and 31 half-centuries.
In all, the left-handed Raina has played 17 Tests, since making his debut in 2010 against Sri Lanka.