Colombo: Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be cynosure of all eyes as he gears up for his 300th ODI with a marauding India ready to tighten the noose around beleaguered Sri Lanka in the penultimate encounter of the five-match series to be held on Thursday.
And there is a good opportunity for the former India captain to come up with a memorable performance in his milestone match since Sri Lanka have hardly come aross as respectable rivals in the lop-sided series.
Considered one of the greatest finishers in 50-over cricket, Dhoni will join India’s elite ‘Club 300’, which has Sachin Tendulkar (463), Rahul Dravid (344), Mohammed Azharuddin (334), Sourav Ganguly (311) and Yuvraj Singh (304).
Dhoni should be in fine fettle after playing a significant role in bailing out the team in back-to-back tricky chases against the hosts, slowly falling apart. The unbeaten knocks of 45 and 67 under pressure is a proof that he is still not finished and his eyes are firmly set on the 50-over World Cup of 2019.
From being a world class finisher to playing a second fiddle to Rohit Sharmas and Bhuvneshwar Kumars, Dhoni has added another dimension to his game. Although one can’t dismiss the fact that a rag-tag Sri Lankan bowling attack, save mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya, has failed to keep up the pressure on Dhoni and Co. after making initial inroads.
The series already sealed with an unassailable 3-0 lead, Virat Kohli’s next aim would be to give a chance to players who have only warmed the benches so far such as Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur.
Kohli himself had a couple of low scoring games and he would look to get back to scoring some more runs along with K.L. Rahul, who has not exactly looked comfortable in an unfamiliar no. 4 position. The only man who would feel a bit of pressure is Kedar Jadhav after successive ducks.