Openers in focus as India looks to seal series against Sri Lanka

After clinching the preceding T20 series 2-1, India has taken a 1-0 lead in the ODI series by winning the low-scoring first match by four wickets.
Shafali Verma will look to come good in the second ODI
Shafali Verma will look to come good in the second ODI

PALLEKELE: The Indian women’s cricket team would look for some stability from its top-order as the visitor aims to seal the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in the second game here on Monday.

After clinching the preceding T20 series 2-1, India has taken a 1-0 lead in the ODI series by winning the low-scoring first match by four wickets.

“Our approach will be the same as before, we have to win the series 3-0 and dominate all the matches. Whatever plans and preparations we made we need to execute,” all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar said at the pre-match press conference.

Despite the comfortable win, the Indian think tank would be a little concerned about the opening pair of vice-captain Smriti Mandhana and young Shafali Verma.

Both the batters have got a few runs but have not been able to translate them into big scores.

The duo has failed to build a decent partnership on the tour so far, denying the team electrifying starts which it is known for.

And both Mandhana and Verma would be gunning for a big score with just two matches remaining on tour.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, on the other hand, seems to be relishing her role, scoring runs and providing breakthroughs with her part-time off-spin.

The Indian bowlers, especially the slower ones, are simply enjoying the low and slow Sri Lankan tracks and have played a crucial role in the team’s victories on the tour.

Right-arm medium pacer Renuka Singh excelled with figures of 3 for 29, however, it was Deepti Sharma’s off-breaks that broke Sri Lanka’s backbone and restricted the host to 171 all out in the first ODI.

While the Indian bowlers have excelled on the tour, the batters have been plagued by inconsistencies.

Verma, once again, squandered a promising start as the top order crumbled while chasing a modest total in the opening ODI.

The middle order comprising the likes of Harmanpreet, Harleen Deol, Deepti, who showed her all-round capabilities and Pooja Vastrakar bailed India out in the opener.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, would hope skipper Chamari Athapaththu can inspire the side with the bat after a poor show so far.

The likes of opener Hasini Perera, Harshitha Samarawickrama and Nilakshi de Silva have batted well but need to stitch partnerships.

On the bowling front, left-arm spinner Inoka Ranaweera has shone bright but will need more support from her colleagues.

Sri Lanka lost the ODI series against Pakistan last month and would look to avoid a second consecutive series loss in the format.

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