Skipper Virat Kohli has been rested for the upcoming three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka which will start from December 10. In the absence of the 29-year-old, Rohit Sharma will lead the Men in Blue for the three-match ODI series. Shreyas Iyer has been included in the squad along with paceman Sidharth Kaul. This is the first time Iyer has been included in the ODI squad. Kohli has been very vocal about the hectic schedule that India has and cricketers need rest from the international calender. Notably, India will tour South Africa three days after the Sri Lanka T20I series which ends on December 24.
However, Kohli will feature in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka in Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi. The face-off will take place on December 2. Shikhar Dhawan who had been rested for the second test due to personal reasons will make a comeback for the third Test. However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar who had missed the second Test as he was busy with his wedding will join the team after the Test series.
Meanwhile, a ruthless India equalled their biggest victory margin when they decimated a lacklustre Sri Lanka by an innings and 239 runs in the second cricket Test, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (4/63) completed a coveted personal milestone of fastest 300 Test wickets in 54 games beating Dennis Lillee’s previous record of 56 matches.
The victory margin was identical to India’s Test victory against Bangladesh at Mirpur in 2007 when Rahul Dravid was captain. Ashwin, who had a match-haul of 8 for 130, bowled Lahiru Gamage with a doosra to bring down curtains on one of the most lop-sided Test matches in recent times. The celebrations were very muted with teammates shaking hands with Ashwin before quietly walking off the field. Skipper Dinesh Chandimal (61) was the only Sri Lankan batsman to show some resistance as others never matched up to what is required to play at the highest level of international cricket.
The manner of abject surrender in this Test match would certainly hurt the island nation, which till a few years back was a force to reckon in international cricket. Just like the Test matches in Sri Lanka, they lost the Test match well inside three and a half days. Ishant Sharma (2/43) looked menacing as he bowled short and quick while Ravindra Jadeja (2/28) was the beneficiary of some sharp fielding from Murali Vijay and indiscretion from the part of opposition batsmen. The action will move on to Feroz Shah Kotla where India would like to continue their winning streak, while Sri Lanka would eye to end the win drought against Men in Blue.
Indian team for Sri Lanka ODIs: Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Kartik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Y Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sidharth Kaul.