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3rd ODI: With series in bag, India may field reserves against Sri Lanka | Cricket News – Times of India

July 23, 2021

Before they departed for the Sri Lanka tour, Rahul Dravid had emphasized that as the India A coach, he believed in giving a chance to play to all the members of the squad. The batting legend has maintained the same theory as the India Under-19 coach too. However, he had also stressed that as the India coach for this tour, he would focus on winning first, rather than giving chances to more players.
In his new role as the India coach for this trip, Dravid now faces a tricky question: Riding on tailender Deepak Chahar‘s heroic, unbeaten 69, India clinched the ODI series on Tuesday night – their ninth consecutive bilateral series win in Lanka. Going into the final ODI of the series on Friday, they now have the opportunity to experiment a bit with their line-up. However, they must also keep in mind that a 3-0 series sweep will help them collect useful points for the 2023 ODI World Cup, to be held in India.

Does he stick to the winning combination, or does he experiment a bit, and give a chance to the others waiting in the wings? Will he rest skipper Shikhar Dhawan, and bring in the talented Devdutt Padikkal, or can he make space for Ruturaj Gaikwad in the middle-order? Will the India coach persist with an adventurous Ishan Kishan, or give a maiden ODI cap to the fit-again Sanju Samson.
In the pace department, he has the option of resting Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and bringing in Navdeep Saini or uncapped left-arm seamer Chetan Sakaria for his first game at this level. Likewise, either of the leggies – Yuzuvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – can be given a break to introduce talented leg-spinner Rahul Chahar or off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham.
With the T20I series up next, India may want their players fresh and rested, rather than picking up a niggle in a meaningless game. The final ODI also presents an opportunity for opener Prithvi Shaw – the youngster has looked good before getting out for 43 & 13 in the first two outings – to notch up a knock which makes a strong case for the 21-year-old as the third opener for the T20 World Cup.
Sri Lanka have been impressive in parts, but need to find a way to win a game, particularly against India. They should’ve closed out the second ODI, but a fabulous knock by Chahar, and some poor fielding and bowling cost them badly, even leading to an intense debate between coach Mickey Arthur and captain Shanuka.
They would take plenty of heart from the Avishka Fernando, Charith Asalanka and Chamika Karunaratne, who’s hit two quickfire 40s while coming in at No 8 so far – have batted in this series so far, but their batsmen need to learn the art of scoring big runs once they get a start.
In the bowling, leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, who got three wickets in the last game to put India on the backfoot, was outstanding, and pacer Dushmantha Chameera looked a decent prospect, but Sri Lanka don’t seem to have the ideal resources to defend even a total that looks competitive.

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