Dambulla: Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and elected to bowl against India in the last league match of the Asia Cup in Dambulla on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka are fast turning out to be India's nemesis in big tournaments, whether it is at the 2007 World Cup, the 2008 Asia Cup final in Karachi or this year's World T20 in the West Indies. On all these occasions, they have produced something special to wreck Indian dreams.
This match is being seen as a dress rehearsal before these two teams clash in the Asia Cup final. All eyes will be on MS Dhoni's men and whether they cope with the pressure against a team which is tough to beat at home.
For India, everything has gone according to plan so far. A comprehensive win over Bangladesh was followed by a cliffhanger of a victory against Pakistan, and now if they can beat the Lankans on Tuesday they will be definite favourites going into the final.
In a big blow, though, vice-captain Virender Sehwag has been ruled out of the tournament. His replacement Dinesh Karthik reached Sri Lanka on Monday morning and headed straight for the nets, having an extended session with the team.
The Men in Blue will now have to cope with his absence. Sehwag's fellow opener Gautam Gambhir, though, has been among the runs, playing match-winning knocks against Bangladesh and Pakistan.
In the absence of Yuvraj Singh, it will be a good chance for youngsters like Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja to step forward and make some runs. The fielding too looks up to the mark.
The only grey area for the Indians is the fast bowling department. Despite the their not-so-rosy form in past matches, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra did not bowl at nets, focusing more on their fitness.
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.