| Virat Kohli, in Pallekele, on Friday |
Pallekele: With the series already under their belt, a confident India will look to continue their dominating run and complete a 4-1 drubbing over an inconsistent Sri Lanka in the final one-dayer here Saturday.
India have been consistent and have dominated the five-match series right from the start, barring the second ODI, which they lost by nine wickets, after coming into the tournament following a prolonged break.
The visitors took an unassailable 3-1 lead after winning the fourth one-dayer by six wickets in their last outing and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men will now aim to end the series on a high. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will hope to salvage some pride by making it 2-3 rather than facing the 1-4 ignominy.
Jayawardene was honest in his assessment that the hosts were simply not good enough against the world champions and blamed their inconsistency for the sorry state.
The hosts came to Colombo with series level at 1-1. Given the consistent home favour in the history of games at the Premadasa, the expectations were high from the home team to press ahead the home advantage.
But it was not to be. Rather, it was Dhoni’s men who created history at the Premadasa by comfortably winning the third and fourth ODI by five wickets and six wickets.
However, Rohit Sharma in particular has been a ‘thorn in the eye’ with repeated failures.
“We are doing well (as a team) and as such there is no need to single out any individual. Everybody is backing each other well,” Ravichandran Ashwin said.
For Sri Lanka, it was not just inconsistency but more of an under-performance which has never been seen in a home series of such high stake.
Apart from Kumar Sangakkara’s brilliant 133 in the first game in Hambantota, the Sri Lankans have been below par. Take the case of Tillekaratne Dilshan.
The opener has failed to fire at the top with only one 50 in the four outings. His partner Tharanga was slightly better getting two 50s.
Jayawardene himself has been patchy. His decision to drop down the order to allow the young Dinesh Chandimal to take charge has not proved to be a wise option and the Sri Lankan captain would do well to return to his familiar position to see if he could inspire the team Saturday.
The middle-order of Angelo Mathews and Chandimal have produced only flashes of brilliance while Thisara Perera’s all-round efforts were not at par with his performance against Pakistan.
Sri Lanka also have been suffering from a series of injury worries. Losing in-form Sangakkara after the third ODI following his fracture in the little finger of his right hand has affected their cause.
The fast bowling unit also looks bare with as many as six pacers being out through injuries. Lasith Malinga has been leading the attack but he has accounted for only five wickets in four games, while giving away runs at a premium.
Jayawardene now wants a decent performance from his team in the last ODI and then his focus will be on the availability of resources ahead of a busy schedule.
“I need to speak to the management and see how best we can do that. I know a couple of guys are really struggling with fatigue. We will see what options are and try and motivate them to go out and take up the challenge,” he said.
Angelo Mathews has said dropped catches have cost Sri Lanka the ongoing ODI series against India. Suresh Raina, who was involved in match-winning partnerships during the third and the fourth ODI in Colombo, was put down at crucial stages in both games.
Virender Sehwag was dropped on zero in the opening game in Hambantota before he made 96 as India posted a winning 314. “Against the Indian batting line up, you can’t drop that many catches,” Mathews said. “If you take from number one to seven, they’re all are very good batters.”