Sri Lanka first destroyed India’s ODI team at the Asia cup final. They then won the Test series against India rather convincingly. The common factor behind these victories was the new cricketing sensation, Ajantha Mendis. He baffled Dhnoi’s boys in the crucial Asia cup final. Then, he also destroyed India’s fabulous four (Dravid, Sachin, Ganguly and VVS). And now the young turks return. This is easily Dhoni’s biggest ODI challenge since he took on the mighty Aussies after insisting on dumping the veterans from the ODI team.
If Dhoni can win this series against SL, cries for phasing out the Fab four from the Test team are going to increase and understandably so. Dhoni has a lot going for him and his team. Firstly, he himself has had some much needed rest by choosing to skip the Test series. His key batsman, Yuvraj Singh is hungry for runs and understandably deeply motivated to re-establish himself after being dropped from the Test team. Gambhir and Sehwag are in top form and Badrinath, Raina and Rohit Sharma make up a solid middle order to follow Yuvraj. The key to India’s success will revolve around the batsmen’s ability to pick Ajantha Mendis. If he continues to torment the Indian batsmen, India has little hope of winning because clearly India’ bowling is a lot weaker than its batting.
For now Sri Lanka clearly holds the upper hand both on paper and psychologically. Despite starting as the underdogs can Dhoni and his boys turn this around? This should be a very interesting ODI series.