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India vs Srilanka 2009 - 1st ODI - Preview
Muttiah Muralitharan is on the verge of becoming the world's leading bowler in ODIs as the Lankan team prepares to face India in the 5 match ODI series starting on Wednesday at Dambulla. The off-spinner is just three wickets short of surpassing former Pakistani paceman Wasim Akram's world record of 502 one-day scalps and he would be itching to break this record in front of his countrymen. The Islanders have come off a well earned 2-1 ODI series win against the Pakistanis and would be wanting to avenge the 3-2 loss suffered at the hands of the Indians last August.
The Sri Lankans are always a tough proposition at home with the pitches keeping low and slow, and with Kulasekara and Thushara in prime form with the new ball they suddenly look a far more dangerous outfit than the one the Indians encountered the last time. The only concern would be their skipper Jayawardene who is searching for form with 28 being his top score in the last 12 one-dayers. But with Dilshan, Jayasuriya and Sangakkara they possess a very strong batting lineup capable of stretching the Indian attack to the fullest.
The Indians are brimming with verve especially after their 5-0 drubbing of the Englishmen and would be quietly confident of putting it across the Lankans. with Sachin back to full fitness the batting order has an air of intimidation to it and Yuvraj Singh is determined to solve the Ajantha Mendis puzzle after falling repeatedly to the mystery spinner the last time they met here. With arguably the best new ball pairing in world cricket in Zaheer and Ishant they would expect to make early inroads into the Lankan toporder. India would miss the mercurial Harbhajan Singh, though it gives an opportunity for Ravindra Jadeja and Pragyan Ojha to prove their mettle.
Sri Lanka are expected to go in with the same team that routed the Pakistan team in the 3rd ODI in Lahore, which means Upul Tharanga and Dilhara Fernando still have to cool their heels for some more time.
The Indians though are still undecided over the allrounder slot with both the Pathan brothers Yusuf and Irfan and Ravindra Jadeja fighting for one spot. Also it could be a tossup between Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel for the third seamer's slot though the latter holds a slight edge in view of his impressive performances the last time he played here.