India, Lanka to test reserves in today`s tie

Dambulla: Having qualified for Thursday`s final, both India and Sri Lanka will test each other`s nerves and reserves in an inconsequential first round Asia Cup match at the Rangiri International Stadium here on Tuesday.

While Kumar Sangakkara`s Lanka have a fit and fighting side, India have been plagued by injuries to key players.

With Virender Sehwag nursing a pulled hamstring, the team management has flown in Dinesh Karthik but Jharkhand batsman Saurabh Tiwary will fancy his chances of making his ODI debut tomorrow.

In the bowling department, Ashish Nehra is said to have recovered from back spasms which had hampered his movement in the field against Pakistan but it is unlikely the left-arm seamer will play tomorrow.

In his absence, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has the option of playing medium pacer Ashok Dinda, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha or Ravichandran Ashwin, whose off-spin bowling could be handy on this surface.

Interestingly, all the off?break bowlers have done reasonably well here.

Among the batsmen, Gautam Gambhir has been India`s man in form with successive scores of 82 and 83. Dhoni himself is hitting the ball well, as is Suresh Raina, who contributed a significant 34 in the win against Pakistan.

But the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are yet to prove their prowess in the tournament.

Though nothing will be at stake tomorrow, star spinner Harbhajan Singh said the team would be serious in their approach.

"This is an important game for us. We don`t take any game lightly. Obviously, if we win the match, we can go to the final with a better frame of mind," said Harbhajan.

Sri Lanka have had a fantastic run in the tournament, defeating Pakistan by 16 runs and crushing Bangladesh by a huge margin of 126 runs.

Their batsmen have been in great nick and opener Tillakaratne Dilshan has been in roaring form. Sangakkara himself, along with Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews, looks in touch while Upul Tharanga and Chamara Kapugedara have also been among the runs.

Their bowling unit is arguably better than India with Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara and left-arm fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara having already made their mark in the tournament.



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