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Ind vs SL: Will Manish Pandey play the 3rd ODI?

It is a tricky situation for Manish Pandey ahead of the third ODI
It is a tricky situation for Manish Pandey ahead of the third ODI
ANALYST

Will Manish Pandey play the third ODI?

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With India pulling off a sensational win against Sri Lanka and wrapping up the series 2-0, it can be safely assumed that there will be a string of changes ringing in, and in focus will be the Karnataka batsman who has had a rather mixed outing in both ODIs.

Manish Pandey was one of the senior names listed in the side alongside skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and while he was expected to make mountains of runs in the series, he has been rather average.

The first match saw him gifting his wicket away when he settled in, making 26 off 40. The stroke play was there. He whacked a four and a six and was content nudging the ball around, however a cramped shot did him in.

In the second ODI, with the top-order trio of Prithvi Shaw, Dhawan and Ishan Kishan dismissed early, Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav set about a rebuild. It was just unfortunate that he was short of his crease at the non-striker's end, as the sweetly-timed push from Yadav just grazed the bowler, Dasun Shanaka's fingertips, and hit the stumps.

Pandey had made 37 off 31 and had built a promising partnership with Yadav. The duo had a 50-run partnership, taking up just 32 deliveries between them, with the latter being the aggressor.

As for Pandey, he settled in with three crisp hits to the fence and kept the scoreboard ticking effortlessly. It was evident he knew he had fallen short of his ground when the bat jammed into the turf as he tried to get back to the crease in time.

The look he gave while climbing the pavilion stairs was filled with dismay and disbelief. And rightly so.


So, will Manish Pandey play the third ODI?

It is a tricky predicament he finds himself in. The second ODI could have seen Manish Pandey taking the side home. He's done it before against Australia (which now seems a distant memory), but with Yadav as his partner, the side may not have gone down the thriller route as it did.

With the series now wrapped up, India will look at giving the new faces some game time. It shouldn't come as a surprise if there is a complete overhaul of personnel in the final game barring Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, making life difficult for Manish Pandey.

The predicted XI goes along these lines: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw/Devdutt Padikkal/Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan/Sanju Samson, Manish Pandey/Nitish Rana, Suryakumar Yadav / Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya/Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Navdeep Saini/Chetan Sakariya, Kuldeep Yadav/Varun Chakravarthy, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Note that there is one player to fill in for every spot on the side. Shaw and Kishan's great starts mean they will be in contention for future series even if they sit out of the third ODI. Kishan's place is expected to be filled by Samson.

If Manish Pandey gets a third game, it's on him to deliver a masterful performance
If Manish Pandey gets a third game, it's on him to deliver a masterful performance

If the think-tank decides to bring in Rana for Yadav, that creates a chance for Manish Pandey to hold on to his spot in the playing XI. The only other factor that sees him get a third game is experience. If India decide to play five or more new players, the side will fall short in the experience arena and that's where Pandey's value comes to the fore.

In the end, it all depends on whether he makes complete use of the next opportunity he gets. In the end, time is running out for the 31-year-old.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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