West Indies tri-series: India vs Sri Lanka- Five players to watch out for
India were cut to size after their Champions trophy triumph by the West Indies in their opening match of the triangular series played at the Sabina Park on Sunday. India had to acclimatize to the West Indian conditions rather swiftly and the batting failed to do so. They looked uncomfortable on the wicket that was drastically slower than the surfaces they played on in England.
The Indian side that comfortably scored totals above 300 in the Champions Trophy were struggling to make 200 at one stage in their first match in the Caribbean. Rohit Sharma put up some resistance at the top of the order but he was unable to capitalize on a good start once again and deserted the Indian innings at a critical stage with a rash shot. This indicates that the tournament will be a bigger challenge than they thought it would be.
West Indies, on the other hand, are now safely on the top of the table with consecutive victories against their sub-continent rivals. They will have nobody to blame but themselves if they fail to make the finals from this stage. India will face Sri Lanka in a key encounter at Jamaica on Tuesday. The winner of the fixture will hold the upper hand in the race to the final. Both the teams will be well aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses as they have contested so many matches against each other in the recent past, the last one being the Champions Trophy semi-final that India won convincingly.
Here is a list of five players who will matter the most on Tuesday:
5. R. Ashwin
The off-spinner bowled a good spell against the West Indies to bring India back into the hunt when West Indies were cruising along. He seems to enjoy the spinning conditions that West Indies offers and while he becomes a bigger threat when there is a bit of bounce on offer, he will make the best out of what he gets. The fact that MS Dhoni was not on the pitch leading the side during the West Indian chase made a huge difference and one wonders if he would have made better use of Ashwin’s wicket taking ability. He was one of the standout performers in the semi-final against Sri Lanka in the Champions trophy and those fond memories should spur him to do well in this match.
4. Nuwan Kulasekara
The Sri Lankan bowling line-up does not enjoy bowling to the Indian batsmen. Lasith Malinga has had a nightmare spell against the Indians and he was put to the sword once again in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy. Virat Kohli, especially, cherishes the opportunity to bat against him. He is unlikely to redeem himself on Tuesday but his colleague Nuwan Kulasekara can create some trouble. We saw Darren Sammy deriving a bit from the pitch against India and was effective as he did not give the batsmen any pace to work with. If Kulasekara can do the same, he can pose a threat to the Indian batting lineup.