Will Sri Lanka be able to end their own misery?

To remember the last time when the Sri Lankan cricket team was going through such a horrendous patch can be a tedious task. Any format of the game, home or away, they have been down and out in the past year or so. On this tour, there have been instances which depict that even the fans are losing interest now.
Well, that is how audiences around the globe tend to react. One and the only one thing, which can improve all of this is a road back to wining ways. One and the only name which can change the current situation is the Sri Lankan team itself. No one, but, the Sri Lankan players themselves will have to put in the efforts to end their own misery.
The first time India whitewashed Sri Lanka in a bilateral ODI series was way back in 1982 when Sri Lanka played three ODIs at Amritsar, Delhi and Bangalore and lost them by 78 runs, 6 wickets and 6 wickets respectively. India increased their domination to 5-0 around three years ago in 2014. If they win today's match, the score (5-0) might remain same, but, it will be the first time that India will whitewash Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.
To predict Sri Lanka's playing eleven in today's match is another cumbersome task. Injuries, suspensions, lack of form, you name the reason for a player being dropped from a team and you will find it with the current Sri Lankan team. Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Lasith Malinga and now again Tharanga - the constant change of leadership hasn't help their cause either.

Will Jadhav's ability to pick wickets earn him a spot in the playing XI
for the last match?
Even before the commencement of the ODI series, the Indian team management had hinted at trying new permutations and combinations. With Shikhar Dhawan back in India to attend to her ailing mother, reserve India opener, Ajinkya Rahane, is likely to open alongside Rohit Sharma today. Having scored 1 and 0 in the two matches that he was promoted up the order, Kedar Jadhav found himself on the sidelines in the last match to accommodate Manish Pandey. The Karnataka batsman scored an unbeaten half-century in the last match to further strengthen his case.
Another batsman who was tried in the middle order was Lokesh Rahul. With scores of 4, 17 and 7 in the series so far, he hasn't faired well either. Rahul made his ODI debut during India's tour of Zimbabwe last year. In three matches, he scored 196 runs at an average of 196 in that series. Since then, in the next seven matches, he has scored a paltry 52 runs at an average of 8.66.
India must be considering giving Jadhav another opportunity in the middle order in place of Rahul. What they can also try is play Rahul as the opener alongside Rahane and rest Sharma for this match. Having scored 286 runs in four matches at an average of 95.33, Sharma has already had a fair bit of workout in this series. But, will Indian rest an in-form opener? Only time will tell.
Kuldeep Yadav and Shardul Thakur are likely to play the last match. Considering the quality of cricket Sri Lanka has played in recent times, a whitewash seems certain on the cards. However, for the greater good of their cricket and especially for players' morale, one wishes that they win this match.


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