Not many expected India to feature in a decider against Sri Lanka in the ongoing three-match ODI series. However, the visitors came up with an inspired performance on a greenish wicket at Dharamsala last Sunday to go 1-0 up before Rohit Sharma led the hosts' comeback with his third double ton in the second ODI on Wednesday, December 14.
As a result, India and Sri Lanka will be playing the series decider at YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, December 17.
India will head into the game with a lot of confidence after the way they decimated Sri Lanka in Mohali. The hosts amassed 392 runs and won the match by a margin of 141 runs to avenge their seven-wicket shock defeat in Dharamsala.
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On the other hand, visiting captain Thisara Perera has likened the conditions in Visakhapatnam to that of Sri Lanka. After playing in the northern part of the country, the islanders will be happy to return to more home-like conditions in the port city of Andhra Pradesh.
Sri Lanka hoping for "something special"
"Definitely in Vizag the conditions are similar to that what we find in Sri Lanka. Mohali and Dharamsala were completely different. It was a total different story over there. Here, I hope we will be able to do something special as conditions are pretty similar to what we find back at home," Perera said on the eve of the third ODI, as quoted by the Press Trust of India.
Can Sri Lanka clinch historic win?
Notably, Sri Lanka are eyeing their first-ever series win in India and a slow and spinner-friendly wicket in Visakhapatnam might just work in their favour. The likes of Akila Dananjaya and Sachith Pathirana have it in them to exploit such conditions and trouble the Indian line-up, which is heavily reliant on the top-order in the absence of skipper Virat Kohli.
On the other hand, India will look to bring back Kuldeep Yadav into the squad as two wrist-spinners can be more than handy in conditions conducive to spin bowling. 19-year-old Washington Sundar, who made his international debut on Wednesday, might have to make way for his senior countryman.
India start as favourites, but Sri Lanka seem to be heading into the match with a clear plan: Pick up early wickets and put pressure on the middle order.
"If you see we took two early wickets in Dharamsala and that enabled us to put more pressure on the Indian side. Their middle and lower order all of a sudden was under pressure. Our plan in to take early wickets in the first 20 overs and that will help us to put pressure on the opposition," Perera said.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The third and final ODI will start in Visakhapatnam at 1:30pm local time, 8am GMT.
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