World Cup: In-form India gear up for Lanka challenge

Leeds: The game between in-form India and the out-of-form Sri Lanka at the Headingley Cricket Ground on Saturday might be a dead rubber of sorts on paper, but a lot is at stake if one digs in deep.

While India can keep chances of finishing the group stages of the 2019 World Cup as the top placed team alive, for Lanka it will be all about bowing out with a win against one of the tournament favourites.

Having struggled right through the tournament, this will be Lanka’s ultimate chance to redeem themselves when they take on Virat Kohli’s men at Headingley. More than the lack of ability, it has been a case of lack of consistency as the Lankan players have shown individual brilliance in phases.

While Kusal Perera leads the batting chart with 255 runs from six innings, he is followed by Dimuth Karunaratne as the captain has 212 runs to his name. Only three other batsmen have scored in triple figures and that speaks volumes of their failure to adapt.

In the bowling department, Lasith Malinga leads the show with 12 wickets from six games. While three of the players are still stuck with five wickets from six games.

For India, it will again be about cementing the fourth batsmen’s slot as they inch closer to the business end. While Rishabh Pant has been given the position with the bat, the others also need to pitch in and support his endeavour.

But the team for now is happy to see him bat at no.4. And if Pant can repose the faith shown in him by the selectors and team management by scoring some runs, that will be the icing on the cake.

The bowling attack too, could wear a tricky look as there were talks of roping in Ravindra Jadeja in place of Dinesh Karthik for the last message. The rest of the bowlers pick themselves.

In fact, such has been the nature of the wickets that captains winnings the toss have not hesitated before deciding to bat first. All in all, it will be a tough battle between two teams from the sub continent.

Squads: England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Tom Curran, James Vince, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett

India: Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli, Mayank Agarwal, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Shami, Rishabh Pant.

By Baidurjo Bhose