India and Sri Lanka tune up for World Cup

KOLKATA, India, Feb 7, 2007 (AFP) – India and Sri Lanka get an early chance to size up each other ahead of the World Cup when they play a four-match limited overs series starting here on Thursday. Both teams are drawn together in group B of the World Cup preliminary rounds alongside Bangladesh and Bermuda, with the top two advancing to the second stage.

India and Sri Lanka will use Thursday’s day-night match at the Eden Gardens and the second game in Rajkot on February 11 to gauge current form before picking their World Cup squads by the February 13 deadline.

Local media speculated that the Indian team chosen for the first two matches, which includes the recalled duo of Virender Sehwag and Munaf Patel, will also play in the March 13-April 28 World Cup in the Caribbean.

Sehwag was dropped for the recent home series against the West Indies following a poor tour of South Africa, but is widely regarded as being a certainty for the World Cup.

The hard-hitting batsman — who has so far scored 4,756 runs in 163 one-day internationals, with seven centuries — is expected to play in the middle-order.

Fast bowler Patel returns after missing most of the South African tour and the Wes