After the heartbreak of the second ODI, it will be interesting to see what kind of character the young and naïve Sri Lankan side shows against an Indian side that has already clinched the series.
The hosts, having posted a more than decent 276-run target, had India pinned 193-7 and the tail exposed. But then the heroics of Deepak Chahar (69*) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19*) formed a match-winning 84-run partnership for the eighth wicket that turned the game on its head.
Such a defeat can take a toll on the team’s moral and Charith Asalanka admitted that both the players and coaches were emotional after seeing a famous win slip through their clutches.
The islanders’ batters have done quite well over the first two games and probably do not need any changes. Several of their bowlers, though, have struggled, which was sort of expected but it also means this is the area where we could see tweaks in the final game.
India found a new hero in the second ODI in the form of Deepak Chahar. Not only did he pick up two wickets but he then turned his team’s unlikely saviour, rescuing them from a certain defeat and sealing the series – their ninth consecutive series win over Sri Lanka.
It leaves the two-time world champions with a familiar dilemma: to retain the same side and gun for a whitewash or experiment with squad players and newcomers – of which the playing eleven already is pretty full.
The difference in confidence levels means that whichever version of India takes the file on Friday will, at the very least, keep things competitive if not win it.