Sri Lanka take on India in the fifth and final one-day international on Saturday with only pride to play for after slipping 3-1 behind in the five-match series.
Most contests have been close so can the hosts finish on a positive note? (Sri Lanka Evens, India 8/11 – Betfred
There have been some great Indian players over the years in both Test and one-day cricket with Sachin Tendulkar widely regarded as the best there has ever been.
But when the dust settles on Virat Kohli’s 50-over career it might just be that the 23-year-old’s achievements are not far behind those of the Little Master.
He has now scored 13 ODI hundreds, with his unbeaten 128 against the Sri Lankans last time out a perfect exhibition of how to play the one-day game.
The Delhi-born star can hit the ball a long way but he also has the ability to work the ball into spaces and picks up his ones and twos as well as anyone, and he has been the difference between the two sides with two tons in the four games to date.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore T20 star has yet to make the grade at Test level but if he can take his one-day form into the five-day game then the sub-continental giants will be the team to beat once more.
Sri Lanka must find a way of getting him out in Pallekele this weekend or they could be staring at a 4-1 series defeat on home soil, which will put a severe dent in their rebuilding process.
Mahele Jayawardene’s men have competed well in all four contests to date but have come up short in three, as the star-studded Indian batting line-up has done the business even without Tendulkar in the ranks.
One of the top six has always taken responsibility and they do not panic if a couple of quick wickets fall, safe in the knowledge that there is an abundance of talent to follow, and they are looking good for the defence of their World Cup title in 2015 (India 7/2 – World Cup Winner).
The home side’s 251 in Colombo looked challenging but Kohli made it look ordinary and it is tough for Jayawardene to know what is a good score against such a potent opposition line-up.
His batsmen have also performed well throughout the series but just cannot match the firepower that MS Dhoni has in his side.
This game will be played at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy and the Sri Lankans do not have a great one-day record at the venue.
They have won just two of six contests and have never faced the Indians at the newest international ground on the island. They won one and lost one against Pakistan back in June with Tillakaratne Dilshan making a century last time out.
The former skipper has made just one half-century to date and a couple of hours of the hard-hitting right-hander might help tip the balance in Sri Lanka’s favour, while Jayawardene himself could do with a few runs after a moderate series by his own high standards.
In truth, there is probably not that much between these two side and if Sri Lanka do go down on Saturday it will give a false impression about how they have played.
Had Kohli been born in Sri Lanka it might well be that they would be going for glory and not Dhoni’s charges when the action gets under way on Saturday.