The word ‘emphatic’ can often be over-used in any sport but there’s really no other way to describe India’s demolition of Sri Lanka in the first test of this series. The tourists dominated from the very start and having compiled 600 in the first innings, the end result never looked in doubt.
The good news for the hosts is that Dinesh Chandimal returns for the second game starting on Wednesday but can the Sri Lankans find a way of salvaging the series?
The bookmakers aren’t expecting much to change in this second match as they install India as favourites at a best price of 1.69 with Betfair. Victory for the Sri Lankans is on offer at 11.00 with Bet365 while the draw finishes off this particular result market at best odds of 3.10 with Betfair.
The weather forecast for Colombo suggests plenty of showers over the five days but a similar prediction for Galle failed to materialise so we’ll ignore that for now. We always knew that it would take time for Sri Lanka to adjust having lost Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardene and now, with Angelo Mathews having lost form and fitness, they’ve taken a step back.
This is the time when younger players need to grow and take over from the ‘big three’ but for now, India just look too strong for them.
Match Odds Summary: Sri Lanka 11.00 (Bet365), The Draw 3.10 (Betfair), India 1.69 (Betfair – Editor’s Pick)
Shikhar Dhawan’s brilliant, big ton would have given the profit in India’s top batsman market last time around but it’s Virat Kohli who starts as favourite for Colombo at 3.50 with Bet365. Dhawan goes off at 4.50 with Bet365 while our selection for the last game, Cheteshwar Pujara, is marginally shorter at 4.33 with Bet365 again.
The value options down the order include Ajinkya Rahane at 7.50 with Bet365 and Hardik Pandya at 26.00 with Bet365 but while Kohli showed well in the second innings at Galle, we’ll keep faith with Pujara here.
For Sri Lanka, Chandimal’s return gives more options and the skipper is at 5.50 with Bet365. Kusal Mendis is the favourite here at 4.00 with Bet365 while some may want to consider the dangerous Angelo Mathews at 5.00 – also with Bet365.
We always feel that Chandimal is a value pick in these markets and he would be our preference but Pujara is our overall top batsman tip for this test.
Top Batsman Odds Summary: India: Kohli 3.50 (Bet365), Pujara 4.33 (Bet365 – Editor’s Pick), Dhawan 4.50 (Bet365), Rahane 7.50 (Bet365), Pandya 26.00 (Bet365).
Sri Lanka: Mendis 4.00 (Bet365), Mathews 5.00 (Bet365), Chandimal 5.50 (Bet365), Tharanga 5.50 (Bet365).
Other Side Bets
There were very few side bets ahead of the first game but that has improved somewhat for Colombo so we’ll start with India’s top bowler. Ravi Jadeja returned the best figures on first innings and he starts at 3.25 with Bet365 while R Ashwin is the favourite at 3.00 with Bet365 again.
Spinners dominate but we’ll look at the seamers and side with Umesh Yadav who is a much better bowler than his figures in Galle suggest. Assuming he plays, Yadav gives us good value here at 5.50 – also with Bet365.
India Top Bowler Odds Summary: Ashwin 3.00 (Bet365), Jadeja 3.25 (Bet365), Shami 5.00 (Bet365), Yadav 5.50 (Bet365).
While the bowlers have their job to do, the difference between these two sides lies with the batsmen. India’s top order is in form and capable of exceeding 600 once again. Sri Lanka should improve with the return of Chandimal but if the weather does stay calm with no rain, it’s hard to see past another Indian victory.