For Sri Lanka, touring India is nothing novel. In fact, there was a time a few years back when they played each other so often that it became almost embarrassing. People were beginning to wonder whether India and Lanka have nothing better to do. However, times have changed, and India are Lanka are taking on each other after a reasonable gap. While that doesn't disadvantage Sri Lanka significantly, the circumstances under which the series has been arranged definitely does. Angelo Mathews has candidly admitted that the preparation for the India tour has not been ideal. Thus, it would be interesting to see how Lanka perform.
The series will also be tough for the visitors since Sri Lanka will be missing two of their key players in the bowling department. Lasith Malinga continues to be injured, which will weaken the team's bowling attack. Malinga doesn't have an impressive record against India, but he bowled brilliantly against them in the World T20 final, while also leading the side. As such, he would have had a psychological edge over India's batting. Further, Rangana Herath, who has had a gruelling 2014, has also been rested, which would weaken the spin bowling department further.
In the absence of their two wicket-takers, the experienced Nuwan Kulasekara will have to take up additional responsibility. There was a point in time when Kulasekara was the number one bowler in the one-day format. But since, he has had a mixed run. The India series will give him another opportunity to lead the attack once again. With the seniors missing, the younger, inexperienced bowlers in the team will get a chance to stake their claim for the upcoming World Cup. Suraj Randiv, who has tasted success with Lanka before, is definitely one of them. With Sachchitra Senanayake still working on his faulty action, Randiv has got lucky.
In the batting department, Sri Lanka will be going in at full strength, which is why they would still be hopeful of putting up an impressive show. A lot will undoubtedly depend on their two stalwarts, former skippers Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who will most possibly be on their last tour to India. The duo, which loves batting against India, will thus be keen to do well. The opening position is a worry. Lanka need to find a proper partner for Tillakaratne Dilshan, and whoever among Kusal Perera and Upul Tharanga is given a chance must seize the opportunity.
In the all-round department, Sri Lanka would obviously be bolstered by the presence of Thisara Perera. He single-handedly has won games for his team both with bat and ball. India need to be careful against him. Then of course there is skipper Angelo Mathews. He is obviously more of a batsman, but his bowling also comes in handy when it is his day. In the fielding department as well, Sri Lanka will match India player to player. Yes, they may be under-prepared. However, that isn't reason enough for India to take Lanka lightly.
--By A Cricket Analyst