Virat Kohli and his men will head into the fifth and final One Day International of the ongoing series versus Sri Lanka at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday, September 3, hunting for an unprecedented whitewash in the island nation.
The hosts have been battered and humiliated ever since Team India clinched an emphatic win in the first of the three-match Test series last month. Kohli and Co. steamrolled Sri Lanka to bag a 3-0 win in the longest format and then have continued their dominance in the ODIs as well.
Kohli should be a delighted man as his team has come up with all-round displays so far. Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have been in fine form, while the skipper himself hit a quickfire ton during India's 168-run win over Sri Lanka in Colombo on Thursday, August 31.
Jasprit Bumrah has been spectacular with the new ball and the young pacer picked up his maiden five-wicket haul to help India clinch an unassailable 3-0 lead in Pallekele, last Sunday, August 27. In the absence of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, young spinners like Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have stepped up and delivered.
Kohli even had the luxury of tinkering with the playing XI as Yadav, Manish Pandey and Shardul Thakur, who were warming the benches, got an opportunity to play on Thursday. The skipper has hinted that the young guns, who impressed in the last ODI, will get another chance on Sunday.
Notably, Team India will miss Dhawan at the top of the order as the left-hander has flown back to India to visit his ailing mother. Ajinkya Rahane, who has not featured yet in the ODI series, is likely to open the innings.
The focus will also be on Lokesh Rahul, who has struggled to get going at the No. 4 spot. Kohli might also be eager to promote the Karnataka batsman to the opening slot.
Where to watch live, start time
India vs Sri Lanka 5th ODI is scheduled for 2.30 pm local time, 2.30 pm IST, 10 am BST, 5 am ET. Here are the live TV and streaming options.
India: TV: Sony Ten 3, Sony Ten 3 HD, Sony Six, Sony Six HD. Live Streaming: Sonyliv.
Sri Lanka and Indian sub-continent: TV: Sony Ten.
South Africa: TV: SuperSport. Live Streaming: SuperSport Video
USA: TV: Willow TV. Live Streaming: Willow TV Online.
Tharanga boost for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka will look to avoid a whitewash, but going by India's ruthlessness, it will not be an easy task. However, the islanders have received a big boost as skipper Upul Tharanga, who was suspended for two matches, returns to the side for the final ODI.
Batting coach Avishka Gunawardene also spoke about resting their brightest prospect Kusal Mendis on Sunday. Notably, the 22-year-old has struggled to find any form in the ongoing series as he has found peculiar ways to get out.
"We feel that he (Kusal Mendis) is mentally drained. Nothing to do with any technical things. We will see what the management comes up with. Better to give him a break before the next tour rather than keep playing him throughout," Gunawardene said on the eve of the fifth ODI.
Playing XI: Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Rahane, Manish Pandey, Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur
Playing XI: Tharanga(c), Niroshan Dickwella(w), Dilshan Munaweera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Milinda Siriwardana, Wanidu Hasaranga, Akila Dananjaya, Malinda Pushpakumara, Vishwa Fernando, Lasith Malinga
R Premadasa Stadium offered a batting-friendly track on Thursday and nothing much is expected to change when the two teams battle for the final game. There is a chance of interruption, however, as thunderstorms are expected in the evening.