India will take on Sri Lanka in the final of the Asia Cup 2023 on Sunday in Colombo. Rohit Sharma’s men have looked like a near-perfect team while batting first and defending the totals posted at the ongoing tournament. On Friday, however, the men in blue’s chasing finesse was put to test by Bangladesh – who won their first Asia Cup ODI against India since 2012.
Sri Lanka on the other hand, are coming on the back of a stunning last-ball win against Pakistan that allowed them to pip Babar Azam and Co in the race to qualify for the final.
The Indian Express looks at the changes both the teams are likely to make for the summit clash in the Sri Lankan capital.
Big guns to return for India
India made five changes to their lineup for the dead rubber against Bangladesh on Friday. Keeping the workload management ahead the World Cup in mind, the likes of Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were rested for the final Super 4 game. Come Sunday, the five are likely to make their way back into the playing XI.
Shardul Thakur to retain his place
Even though Axar Patel made his mark with the bat against Bangladesh, the all-rounder won’t be available for the final owing to the injury he picked on his arm during the Super 4 game against Bangladesh. Shardul Thakur on the other hand, proved his worth with the ball in his hand, picking three wickets against Shakib Al Hasan and Co. Thakur has started in the bowling attack ahead of the Mohammed Shami and that is unlikely to be tinkered with for the final.
Dushan Hemantha comes in for Sri Lanka
The leg-spinner thus far has been an understudy to ace bowler Wanindu Hasaranga, However, with Maheesh Theekshana having sustained an injury during Sri Lanka’s last game, Hemantha might be given an opportunity in the final. In a couple of ODI’s so far, Hemantha has picked up two wickets at an economy of 5.21 and can also be handy with the bat lower down the order. Indian batters would not have seen much of him and if history is to be taken into account, he might be an X-factor for Sri Lanka in the final.
Sri Lanka predicted Playing XI: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (c), Dunith Wellalage, Dushan Hemantha, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana
India Squad: Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul(w), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Washington Sundar, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Prasidh Krishna, Tilak Varma
Sri Lanka Squad: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis(w), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka(c), Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan, Matheesha Pathirana, Sahan Arachchige, Dushan Hemantha, Kasun Rajitha, Binura Fernando, Dimuth Karunaratne