Openers in focus as India look to seal series against Sri Lanka in 2nd ODI

Colombo: India’s women’s cricket team are said to be looking for some stability from their first order as the visitors aim to seal the three-game ODI series against Sri Lanka in Monday’s second match. After winning the previous T20 series 2-1, India took a 1-0 lead in the ODI series by winning the low scoring opener by four wickets.

“Our approach will be the same as before, we have to win the series 3-0 and dominate all the games. Whatever plans and preparations we have, we have to execute them,” said the versatile Pooja Vastrakar during the pre-match press conference.

Despite the comfortable victory, the Indian think tank is said to be a bit concerned about the opening pair of vice-captain Smriti Mandhana and youngster Shafali Verma. Both hitters got a few runs but weren’t able to translate them into big scores.

The duo have failed to strike a decent partnership on the tour so far, robbing the team of the electrifying starts they are known for. And Mandhana and Verma would be aiming for a big score with just two matches remaining on tour.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, on the other hand, seems to be enjoying his role, scoring points and providing breakthroughs with his part-time off-tour. Indian bowlers, especially the slower ones, simply enjoy the low and slow lanes of Sri Lanka and have been crucial in the team’s victories on the circuit.

Right-arm middle guard Renuka Singh excelled with numbers of 3 for 29, however, it was Deepti Sharma’s breaks that broke Sri Lanka’s backbone and limited the hosts to 171 all in the first ODI. While Indian bowlers have excelled on the tour, batters have been plagued with inconsistencies.

Verma once again squandered a promising start as the first order crumbled while chasing a modest total in the opening ODI. The middle order comprising of Harmanpreet, Harleen Deol, Deepti who showed her versatile abilities and Pooja Vastrakar bailed India out in the opener.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, are hoping skipper Chamari Athapaththu can inspire the team with the bat after a relatively poor show so far. The likes of fly-half Hasini Perera, Harshitha Samarawickrama and Nilakshi de Silva have hit well but need to partner.

On the bowling front, left-arm spinner Inoka Ranaweera shone but will need more support from her colleagues. Sri Lanka lost the ODI series to Pakistan last month and would be looking to avoid a second consecutive defeat in the format.

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), S Meghana, Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Simran Bahadur, Richa Ghosh (wk), Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Harleen Deol.

Sri Lanka: Chamari Athapaththu (c), Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Vishmi Gunaratne, Ama Kanchana, Hansima Karunaratne, Achini Kulasuriya, Sugandika Kumari, Harshitha Samarawickrama, Hasini Perera, Udeshika Prabodhani, Oshadi Ranasinghe Inoka Ranaweera, Sathya Sandeepani, Anushka Sanjeewani , Malsha Shehani, Tharika Sewwandi. The match starts at 10am IST.

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