Sri Lanka vs India 2nd T20I Preview: Chance for India to seal series against competitive hosts
Sri Lanka have shown glimpses of what they are capable of in the white-ball leg.
LIVE SCORES - Sri Lanka vs India 2nd T20I
Do Sri Lanka need a change in strategy?
In both the first two matches of the ODI series Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first. It is another matter that India won both those games, but Sri Lanka were definitely competitive.
It suggested a change in strategy by Sri Lanka when the team decided to chase after winning the toss in the first T20I. If the pitch was flat, or the outfield was small or there was a lot of due around, the decision is understandable.
However, given the inexperienced and the fragile Sri Lankan batting line-up, they will be better served to bat first and put runs on the board. They then have the bowlers, particularly the spinners, to put the Indian batting line -up under pressure.
While chasing, their batting line-up is put under too much pressure by the Indian bowlers for them to tackle as was evident in the 1st T20I. Sri Lanka got off to a good start and were going well at 46 for one at the end of the powerplay. However, the team lost their way in the middle overs and lost a couple of quick wickets. They were never really able to recover from the dent despite the best efforts of Charith Asalanka who smashed 44 off 26 deliveries at a strike rate of almost 170.
Prithvi Shaw and Varun Chakravarthy were the two debutants for India in the series opener. While Shaw has had a taste of international cricket, both in ODIs and test matches, it was the first international match for Varun Chakravarthy.
Both players would be disappointed with their returns. Prithvi Shaw in particular got a peach of a delivery from Dushmantha Chameera on the very first ball of the match. It was an overpriced delivery, right where it should be in the beginning of the spell.
Shaw was late on the shot and went at it with hard hands, something which makes him the explosive batter that he is, but nicked it to wicketkeeper Minod Bhanuka on this occasion.
Shaw is the most destructive batsman in the Indian batting line-up despite the presence of Shikhar Dhawan, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya in the order, and if he fires, he can add 20-30 runs to the Indian total.
Chakravarthy did not finish with bad figures. In fact, most bowlers would take 4-0-28-1 on their T20 International debut. But, bigger things are expected of the mystery spinner.
He bowled a lot from over the wicket even against left handers which meant that most of the balls which were finishing on the stumps were pitching outside the leg stump and the ones pitching in line ended up away from the stumps. If he can change the angle, Chakravarthy has the ability to pick up a handful of wickets and make a real impact in the series.
The XIs which both teams picked in the series opener were along expected lines
It was slightly surprising though that both wicketkeeper batsmen Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan were part of the playing XI. There could have been an opportunity for the likes of Nitish Rana, Ruturaj Gaikwad or Devdutt Padikkal.
For Sri Lanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa looked good in the ODIs and perhaps deserves a place in the XI, probably ahead of Ashen Bandara.
Apart from Rajapaksa, the home side has Ishan Jayaratne, Ramesh Mendis, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando, Lakshan Sandakan, Praveen Jayawickrama, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Pathum Nissanka, Lahiru Udara, Shiran Fernando and Binura Fernando in the reserves.
The likes of Rahul Chahar, Devdutt Padikkal and Chetan Sakariya will be hoping for an opportunity in the Indian XI but they might have to wait for another match. If India seal the series ahead of the last game, there will be plenty of chances for the reserves.
Predicted playing XIs:
Sri Lanka - Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka (c), Ashen Bandara, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera
India - Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy
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