It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
Old rivals India and Sri Lanka face off in the second match of the Asia Cup today. Team India will be looking to carry forth the momentum from Hobart--where it comprehensively beat the Lankans--into this tournament.
The Indians are the reigning Asia Cup champions. They had won the last tournament in Dambulla, where they beat Sri Lanka in the finals. Just like the previous edition, even this one features a round-robin format, where each of the four teams--India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh--play one another once.
The final will be played between the top two teams on March 22, and all matches will be held at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Leading the Indian charge will be skipper MS Dhoni, who will be hoping to wipe away the memories of a testing tour Down Under. Virat Kohli, whose stellar performances in Australia convinced the national selectors to promote him to vice-captain, will also be the key to Team India's fortunes.
Other key members of the Indian batting lineup include Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma. Given the flat pitches on offer in the subcontinent, the Indian batting order should fare much better than it has in the last few months--this despite the exclusion of Virender Sehwag, who's currently being "rested."
As far as the bowling goes, Praveen Kumar and Irfan Pathan will be heading the attack in Zaheer Khan's absence. However, R. Ashwin should benefit from the flat track more than anyone else. He has bowled well on these sorts of wickets in the past, achieving considerable success.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankans will be eager to set the record straight as they try to one-up India--the only team they had a losing record against in the recently-concluded Australian tri-series. Captain Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan--aka the Big Three of Sri Lankan cricket--will come out in full force against a bowling attack with which they are all too familiar.
The Lankan Lions also have the ever-dependable Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Nuwan Kulasekara in their ranks. Besides, they also have Lasith Malinga and his destructive yorkers on their side.
All in all, this should be a hard-fought encounter that could go down to the wire. Given that Team India has a better head-to-head record--especially in the recent past--it is slightly favoured in this battle. The bookies think so too, with India favoured at 1.8:1 and Lanka at only slightly longer odds at 2.1:1.
-Picture courtesy Reuters-
you might also like
With Skyfall, director Sam Mendes mixes the old an...
If Bollywood ever went down the 007 agent route, w...