2 mistakes and 1 masterstroke by India in the 3rd ODI against Sri Lanka

Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli were the highest run-getters in the three-match series
Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli were the highest run-getters in the three-match series

Team India were made to work for their win in the second ODI against Sri Lanka, but they left no stone unturned in the final game of the series. The Men in Blue thrashed the visitors by a whopping 317 runs to seal a 3-0 whitewash in emphatic fashion.

Despite the comprehensive nature of the win, several questions were raised after the match. India face New Zealand in an ODI series just three days from now, and with this being a World Cup year, they need to be at their best at every stage of every game.

Here are two mistakes and one masterstroke by India in the third ODI against Sri Lanka.

#3 Mistake - Rohit Sharma's dismissal continues the pattern

Rohit Sharma returned to the Indian squad for the ODI series against Sri Lanka after missing a stretch of games with an injury. Although he looked better at the crease than initially expected, the skipper finished with only one fifty and no big scores to his name.

In the third ODI, Rohit appeared to be in supreme touch. He smashed two fours and three sixes in his 49-ball knock without ever really being in trouble but somehow managed to find a fielder in the deep when on 42. An innocuous delivery from Chamika Karunaratne was the culprit as the opener steered it straight to deep square leg, who didn't have to move an inch.

As Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli made merry, Rohit had to watch from the dugout. The 35-year-old's dismissal in the dead rubber added to a pattern that has manifested far too often in the recent past. Once or twice can be excused, but the frequency with which Rohit has found ways to get out justifies it being labeled a mistake.

#2 Masterstroke - Team selection

Rohit and the team management have been vocal about backing their players in the lead-up to the World Cup, and their decision-making for the third ODI was practically spot-on.

The Men in Blue made two changes, bringing in Washington Sundar and Suryakumar Yadav for Umran Malik and Hardik Pandya. While Malik is an express pacer whose workload has to be regulated, Hardik has some way to go before he can regularly bowl in ODIs.

More importantly, India weren't tempted to bring Yuzvendra Chahal back into the mix for the final ODI. Kuldeep Yadav needs to be backed as the frontline spinner in the format, with Chahal having let the side down for years now.

Ishan Kishan and Arshdeep Singh finished the series with no games to show for, but India's thinking can't be faulted. They backed the right players.

#1 Mistake - India could've shuffled their batting order around

When Shubman Gill got out in the 34th over with the score reading 226/2, India could've been tempted to step on the pedal by sending in Suryakumar Yadav. The batter was penciled in to bat at Hardik's No. 6 spot, but he would've been perfectly suited for the role.

It was still understandable that India decided to stick with Shreyas Iyer at No. 4, though, since the batter hadn't scored many runs in the first two games and needed to spend some time in the middle. But once Shreyas walked back in the 46th over, surely it was time for Suryakumar.

KL Rahul was sent in to bat instead, making seven runs off six balls before being dismissed. SKY had around two overs to make an impact, and he ended up facing just four balls. Had Hardik been in the side, wouldn't India have sent him in ahead of Rahul and perhaps even Shreyas?

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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