Nitish Rana, Sanju Samson, Chetan Sakariya, Rahul Chahar and Krishnappa Gowtham made their debut in the third and final ODI of the series.
Former Pakistan cricketer Ramiz Raja has backed India’s decision to hand five debut caps against Sri Lanka in the third and final ODI in Colombo. With the series in India’s grasp, the management generously included five uncapped players in Nitish Rana, Sanju Samson, Chetan Sakariya, Rahul Chahar and Krishnappa Gowtham in what was the first instance of India handing as many debuts in ODIs since 1980.
Although, the team could not affect a clean-sweep and went on to lose the game by three wickets to seal the fate of the series as 2-1. Notably, India won their first toss in the series, and while they were chasing the target in both of the previous two games, Shikhar Dhawan opted to defend in the final game. India was off to a positive start but lost the plot in the middle overs, losing wickets continuously to be dismissed for 225 when they were 117/2 at one stage.
The match was reduced to 47 overs a side due to a rain-enforced break. During the chase, even as Sri Lanka found itself under pressure at certain junctures, half-centuries from Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa kept them on the front as they eventually chased the target with eight overs left.
Handing five debuts a great decision by management: Ramiz Raja
“5 players were handed debuts for the third ODI which is a very good thing. It was a great decision taken by the management. Though they have won the series already, there are not many teams in Asia that take the field with such a mentality.
“Several teams select their final XI in a reserved manner despite winning the series. They have a timid approach for introducing fresh talent, with a fear of losing the game. But you won’t expect such things when Rahul Dravid is around,” he said.
“The reason is – he has a completely different mindset. A win or loss doesn’t bother him much. He might have got the directive to test the bench strength, especially after capturing the series. So that, the canvas of Indian cricket gets bigger and new players could be introduced who can serve the country in future,” he added.
After winning the series 2-1, India and Sri Lanka will now play a three-match T20I series starting from Sundat (july 25) in Colombo.