Date : 27-11-2014

Angadh Oberoi
Infinity Cricket Media

November 26th 2014

In the wake of the West Indies’ sudden departure from India, Sri Lanka Cricket agreed to fill the void by playing a five game ODI series. The SLC saw it as an opportunity to get extra ODI practice in before their series against England and then New Zealand prior to next year’s World Cup. At the conclusion of the series, the Sri Lankan players might have been thinking it may have been better to stay at home. The 5-0 margin, their first whitewash of that length against India in ODIs, did little to help Sri Lanka shake off the pre-season cobwebs.

It was a series in which the current holders of the World Cup proved why they are fancied to successfully retain it. Coming off 3-1 and 3-0 victories against England away and the West Indies at home respectively, India used the series to test their bench strength and different combinations, the series being their last ODI hit out before World Cup squads are to be named.

The rusty Sri Lankans proved to be no match for the Indian batsmen, as they scored five of the seven centuries brought up in the series. The three openers India used in the series, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, and Rohit Sharma all scored a century each. Rohit, coming back from a long injury layoff came into some tremendous form in his first hit out at the international level scoring a world record 264, becoming the only batsman to score two ODI double centuries. Ambati Rayudu and stand in Captain Virat Kohli were the other two century makers for India with Kohli’s coming in the last games to seal the 5-0 series victory.

Twenty year old spinner Akshar Patel impressed one and all by leading the wicket taking list on both sides, with 11 wickets at an average of 18.09 in the five matches he played, throwing up the debate of whether he or Jadeja should be taken to Australia and New Zealand as the left arm spinning option. Indian seamer Umesh Yadav also got some handy match practice and wickets under his belt to build his confidence ahead of the Australian Test series. Once again, the Indian bowlers lead the wicket takers list, with the Sri Lankans not having many answers in the series.

While Sri Lanka’s fielding, and bowling were mediocre at best, they had one shining light with captain Angelo Mathews having a tremendous series with both ball and bat. Mathews ended the series as the highest run scorer amongst both sides, making 339 runs at an astonishing average of 113 with a top score of 139*. Along with his runs, Mathews led the Sri Lankan bowling attack with four wickets at 36.

At the end of the five games, both sides will have differing views on it. India it appears would feel as though their World Cup preparations are on track with only one loss in their last 12 completed games. Many of their batsmen and bowlers have come into fitness and form with only a guaranteed four more ODIs in the Australian tri-series before their World Cup campaign begins. Sri Lanka however would feel that the series has adversely impacted their World Cup preparations, as they now head into a seven game ODI series at home before heading to New Zealand for two Tests and a further seven ODIs that will take them through to the World Cup. While India can travel to Australia with confidence, Sri Lanka will need to be a lot better- and fast.

Angadh Oberoi is writing for Infinity Cricket Media as well as Sports Keeda. 
He is also a key member of the Swami Army Indian Supporter Group and is active on social media. 
Twitter: @angybhai / @infinitycricket