Under clear blue skies, Mahendra Singh Dhoni won his fourth straight toss and chose to bat, reasoning the pitch was a bit dry and the spinners could get some help later on. India, 2-1 up in the series, went in unchanged and with four specialist bowlers but Sri Lanka made one change, bringing in opener Malinda Warnapura for Chamara Silva.
Sri Lanka's batting has looked top-heavy in recent times with their three big names - Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, and Mahela Jayawardene - at the top of the order failing to fire. Warnapura averages a modest 28 in List As and earns his second ODI cap on the back of some impressive showings at the Test level; his inclusion will see Sangakkara drop down to No 3 and stiffen the middle order.
In the lead-up to the match, Sangakkara had stressed the importance of the top order firing. "In one-day cricket if a top-order batsman stays in until the 30th over there is almost a certainty he will score a hundred," he said. "That is the kind of attitude that top-order players should carry into a match." Sound advice for Sri Lanka's batsmen, none of whom has made a century at home since Upul Tharanga in September 2005.
Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt/wk), Rohit Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel
Sanath Jayasuriya, Malinda Warnapura, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Chamara Kapugedera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chaminda Vaas, Thilan Thushara, Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan