Dambulla, August 17:
India will look to their in-form openers for good starts in the five-match one-day international (ODI) series against Sri Lanka starting on Monday, as the visitors seek to repair pride wounded in the Test series defeat.
Sri Lanka and India play the first one-day match in Rangiri Dambulla Stadium on Monday after the hosts won the Test series 2-1. Indiaâ€™s much-vaunted batting line-up was largely subdued in the Tests, with openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir providing what little punch the tourists could deliver, and one-day captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni needs their input again.
â€œIn any form of cricket, whether in Test or ODI, the start is very important,â€ Dhoni said Sunday. â€œSehwag is sort of a player who takes a bit of risk. He is a stroke player and there is a fair amount of risk involved. Whenever he gives a good start then we get a fair chance to win the game.â€
Sri Lankaâ€™s captain Mahela Jayawardene said his side must start from scratch for the one-dayers, putting little stock in theories of carried-over momentum from the Tests. â€œI am a great believer in hard work, doing little things right,â€ Jayawardene said.
Sri Lankaâ€™s Test victories were forged on the spin bowling of Muttiah Muralitharan and impressive newcomer Ajantha Mendis, but Jayawardene was now counting on his batsmen to show the way. â€œIn ODIs in general, putting runs on the board is crucial. But having a bowling attack that picks up wickets, you can fall back on that, but not everyday. We need to be very consistent,â€ Jayawardene said.
Dhoni said the introduction of Mendis in the Asia Cup â€” which proceeded the India Tests â€” had made the difference for a Sri Lanka lineup that had not been at their peak since reaching the final of the 2007 World Cup.
Mendis picked up six wickets to turn the Asia Cup final against India in Sri Lankaâ€™s favour and carried on to set a new world record for most wickets in a debut three-match test series. â€œNow in the middle they have two bowlers, previously it was (Muttiah) Muralitharan and we look to score from the other side. But now they have two specialist bowlers who donâ€™t really give loose balls to cash on,â€ Dhoni said.