IND vs SL 2nd ODI:India put up a clinical performance in the first ODI against Sri Lanka at Guwahati. Apart from the toss India had everything going for them in the game. The openers laid a good solid aggressive foundation. Virat Kohli batted through albeit at a fast clip than usual. Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul contributed with vital cameos. India’s new ball bowlers then stepped up to put the game beyond Lanka’s reach. But few grey areas remain for the Indian team. They would be keen to iron out those issues in the 2nd ODI.
We look at areas of improvement for India in the 2nd ODI:
#1 Need to keep scoring boundaries
India started off in the best possible fashion at Guwahati. The opening partnership yielded 143 runs under 20 overs. India continued strongly in the next 10 overs. But Shreyas Iyer’s wicket pegged India back in the overs between 31-35. India failed to score a single boundary during this phase. The team needs to be aware to keep looking for the big hits especially leading up to the final overs. A team that is proactive at this juncture will end up scoring those 15-20 extra runs.
#2 The importance of finishing right
India at one stage looked set to score in excess of 400. They had wickets in hand to really push the ante. India had a set batsman batting almost till the 48th over. They had the luxury of finishers like Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel to come to the fore.
But India managed to score just 79 in the last 10 overs. They could just muster 17 in the last 3 overs. India still managed to post 373 but they will be wary of losing out on scoring in the final 10 overs. They would be keen to capitalize in the slog overs if they get a chance in this game.
#3 Spinners to take wickets in the middle overs
It was Mohammad Siraj who set the ball rolling with two early wickets in the first 6 overs. Umran Malik then stepped up to pick wickets every time he came to bowl. India had enough runs in the bank to mitigate any blossoming threat. But there was an apparent lack of zip from the spinners. The Lankan batters targeted both the Indian spinners to milk them for easy runs. India needs their spinners to pick wickets in the middle overs to stake a strong claim in the upcoming ODI World Cup.
#4 The inability to bowl out the opposition
India had picked eight of the Lankan wickets before the last 10 overs of their batting. But they couldn’t pick a single wicket in the last 10 overs. Dasun Shanaka shouldered the strike masterly in the slog overs. He eventually helped himself to a century in the last over. This has been India’s big problem in the last few ODIs as they have failed to finish the job when it mattered the most. Bangladesh made India pay with their last wicket stand. Unless India doesn’t figure out a way to fix this issue, it will continue to be an Achilles heel for the team.
#5 The absence of an X-factor player in the lineup
India made conservative selection calls in the first ODI indicating their preference for continuity. They dropped Ishan Kishan for Shubman Gill. Kishan had just scored a double-century in his last ODI. He is someone who keeps batting in fifth gear irrespective of the phase of the innings. Kishan also brings in the much-needed left-hand dynamic to India’s right-heavy top-order.
India also preferred the likes of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer over Suryakumar Yadav. While it can be argued that Yadav’s ODI numbers might not stand out but he is the one who could do the most damage on his day over the other two. In a World Cup year, India will need the presence of such players who could change the fate of a game in just a few overs.