Sri Lanka in India - Preview
22 Oct 2005
By: Alex Crampton
The last time Sri Lanka and India played a series on Indian soil it was a bit of a disappointment, with all 3 tests drawn without any real excitement. Both sides are barely recognisable from them and this upcoming series promises much more excitement, with Sachin Tendulkar returning for the home side.
Tendulkar returns for India after a long lay-off with a tennis elbow injury, which caused him to miss the ICC Super Series. A Tendulkar in top form would be just what India need in the ODI series, with an inexperienced middle order.
Other than the return of Tendulkar, one of the main points of interest will be Rahul Dravid's captaincy of India in the one-day series. Dravid's appointment brings an end to the reign of Sourav Ganguly, who misses at least the first 2 games of the series with injury.
Sri Lanka's tour kicked off today with a 3 wicket loss against a MCA President's XI. This defeat will most likely mean nothing in the context of the tour, with a much better performance expected from Sri Lanka before Monday's first ODI. The 7 match ODI series is one both teams will expect to win, but Sri Lanka start as favourites after victory in the IndianOil Cup featuring West Indies and India, and a much higher world rating than India.
India have chosen to omit VVS Laxman from their ODI squad and have called young pace bowler Sree Santh into their ranks. Sourav Ganguly and Mohammad Kaif are also absent from India's 15 man squad due to injury, and pace bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra also miss the cut. Sri Lankan's squad is the same as the one that defeated Bangladesh, except for seamer Nuwan Zoysa replacing Avishka Gunawardene.
Upon the completion of the ODI series Sri Lanka fly back home, and return to India 3 weeks later for the 3 test series. India will be boosted by the return of Kaif and Ganguly and both sides will be looking to draw from their thrashings of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and convert them into performances against opposition of a much higher level.
Whatever the result, this tour promises much, with some of the best players in the world on show. India have Harbhajan and his off spinners, up and coming left arm seamer Irfan Pathan, the explosive Virender Sehwag, and 2 of the world's best batsmen in Dravid and Tendulkar, with the latter aiming to break Sunil gavaskar's record of 34 test hundreds. Their opposition however can boast the controversial genius of Muttiah Muralitharan, one of the world's best wicketkeeper-batsmen in Kumar Sangakkara, the hard hitting Sanath Jayausriya and the world's best left arm swing bowler, Chaminda Vaas.