India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd T20I Preview- Ruthless India aim for another series win as wounded Sri Lanka hope to retaliate
The last time the visitors played a T20I in Pune, Kasun Rajitha [3-29] and Dasun Shanaka [3-26] wrecked through the famed Indian batting line-up.
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Bad memories. The Indian tour for any visiting Sri Lankan side of the past and present have always given the island nation plenty of bad memories which have also sometimes proceeded to turn into nightmares. The island nation is yet to win a Test match or a bilateral rubber on Indian soil. Sri Lanka had come into the second T20I in Indore with plenty of bad memories of the past of the Holkar Stadium and Tuesday’s seven-wicket shellacking became the newest edition to the ordeal of 2017.
But, if there is one Indian ground where Sri Lanka have had some rare memorable moments in the past, it is the Maharastra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. The last time the visitors played a T20I in Pune, Kasun Rajitha [3-29] and Dasun Shanaka [3-26] wrecked through the famed Indian batting line-up on what one of the greenest wickets you’ll ever find in India. That was 2016 though.
Since then India vs Sri Lanka T20Is have had a similar script, And, Sri Lanka knows they have a lot of work to do if they are to emulate the feat they achieved four years ago. The islanders showed flashes of brilliance in the last game with Avishka Fernando, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, all of them unleashing eye-catching strokeplay. But, none of them could convert their starts into a substantial inning, something coach Mickey Arthur termed as “not good enough” in the post-match conference.
One of the major reasons why Sri Lankan batsmen weren’t able to convert their starts into a 50, 60 or 70 was because of the relentlessness of the Indian pace attack- especially the young duo of Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur.
While Saini bamboozled the batsmen with sustained pace, Thakur and the comeback man Jasprit Bumrah flummoxing them with subtle variations. Another positive for India in the Indore T20I was there catching, something that had been way below par in the recent series against Bangladesh and the West Indies, something Kohli and the team-management will hope it continues in the series decider at Pune.
With the Men in Blue romping to an easy win, there is not much margin for change, unless they decide to give a chance to one of the fringe players. The only spot that could come up contention if Kohli and the team-management decide to try out Manish Pandey or bring Ravindra Jadeja back in place of Shivam Dube, considering he was barely needed with either bat or ball in Indore.
Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube/Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav/Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah.
Sri Lanka lost the services of Isuru Udana due to injury in the last game, and they might look to replace it with Kasun Rajitha, who had a good outing [3-29], the last time he played against India in Pune. Apart from that, Sri Lanka is likely to stick with their young guns in Oshada Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa as they aim to build the side for the T20 World Cup in Australia, something which coach Micky Arthur alluded to in the press conference, which means Angelo Matthews could once again miss out.
Probable XI: Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera (WK), Angelo Mathews/Oshada Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Malinga (C), Lahiru Kumara.
In the Spotlight
Shikhar Dhawan [IND]- Shikhar Dhawan’s batting template in T20 cricket has been constant for a long time now. The southpaw starts in a blazing fashion in the powerplay against the fast bowlers but as soon as the spinners- especially wrist-spinners- come into the attack, the left-hander scoring rate hits its nadir.
Dhawan’s struggles against leg-spinner in T20I cricket has been one the major reason in him not converting his starts into big innings. In 16 innings against leg-spinners, Dhawan has managed just 81 runs at an average of 16.2 and has been dismissed five times, the last of which came against Wanindu Hasaranga in Indore.
Lasith Malinga [SL]- Lasith Malinga has been a champion bowler for Sri Lanka for a long time now. He has also defied age time and again, but it is safe to say that Malinga had a forgettable day during the second T20. Not only did he concede 41 runs in his four overs, but his body language also wasn’t up for a scratch and he looked uninspiring as a leader. With another series of defeat under his leadership looming and the emergence of Dasun Shanaka as a potential candidate, the vile old fox will be looking to revive not only his but also his sides’ fortunes in Pune.
5 wickets- The margin of the win for Sri Lanka, the last time they played a T20I in Pune.
1- Number of T20I, Sri Lanka have won against India since their five-wicket win in Pune in 2016. Since then, both sides have played 11 T20Is, out of which the Men in Blue have won nine whole Sri Lanka have managed just a solitary win that came during the Nidahas Trophy in 2018.
1-1- India’s record in two T20Is played at the M.C.A Stadium in Pune. Their only win came against England (by five wickets) way back in 2012.
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Match Timings – 19:00 local time, 13:30 GMT