India vs Sri Lanka Final WC 2011
After 48 matches and six weeks of non-stop action, it's all boiled down to this. India v Sri Lanka. Tendulkar v Muralitharan. Host nation v host nation. The two best in show, the cream of a 14-team crop, primed for the ultimate showdown. The weather in Mumbai is fittingly sweltering, with the atmosphere within the stadium so rowdy that the toss had to be retaken after Kumar Sangakkara's initial call was drowned out by the crowd.India vs Sri Lanka Final World Cup Live Online
Sangakkara eventually won it on the second attempt, and Sri Lanka will bat first on a Wankhede surface that looks hard, true and full of runs for the batsmen, and bounce for spinners and seamers alike. The opportunity to set the tone of the occasion will suit the strengths of a Sri Lanka team that will be relying heavily on the experience of their top four, especially given that they have been forced into four team changes lower down to cover for injury as well as the change from the slow, low conditions in Colombo.
The loss of Angelo Mathews to a thigh strain is a grievous blow for Sri Lanka, denying them as it does a very effective seam option as well as one of the best death-overs hitters in their line-up. Chamara Kapugedera and Nuwan Kulasekara have been drafted in to balance his two roles, with the replacement spinner Suraj Randiv a surprise inclusion ahead of Ajantha Mendis, whose mysteries are perhaps too familiar to India in home conditions - in three previous ODIs in the country, he has taken three wickets at 49.33, at an economy rate of 5.92.
The seaming allrounder Thisara Perera also plays in place in place of Rangana Herath, which means that an immense burden will rest on the absolute veteran in their line-up, Muttiah Muralitharan, whose 350th and final ODI will be an emotional occasion. He was barely fit for the semi-final victory over New Zealand, with a combination of groin, knee and hamstring injuries hampering his mobility. But he still chimed in with two key wickets including one with his last delivery on home soil. And there's no question he is ready to play through the pain.
India have had far less upheaval to deal with in their team selection. They have made one change to the side that beat Pakistan in their gripping semi-final at Mohali on Wednesday. Ashish Nehra, a veteran of the 2003 final in Johannesburg, sustained a broken finger while fielding against Pakistan, and makes way for the mercurial Sreesanth, a man whose ability to reverse-swing the ageing ball might prove handy in the latter stages of the innings.
For the third World Cup running, there can be no quibbling about the identity of the finalists. Just as India in 2003 and Sri Lanka in 2007 were the only worthy opponents for the eventual champions, Australia, so the time has come for one of those two teams to be crowned in 2011. And on home soil, in front of an expectant home crowd, as well as a watching audience in the billions, Sachin Tendulkar - on 99 international centuries - will be expected to have a massive say in the final outcome. His grand entrance, however, will have to wait until the run-chase.
India 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Suresh Raina, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Munaf Patel, 11 Sreesanth
Sri Lanka 1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Chamara Kapugedera, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Suraj Randiv, 11 Muttiah Muralitharan