SL’s batting line-up could be bolstered after new squad members were added
After their early exit at the last T20 World Cup, India have taken a few steps in the right direction, especially with their top three batters showing more intent. With Venkatesh stepping up with both bat and ball and Ravindra Jadeja making a comeback, they seem to have a sixth bowling option covered as well.
However, their fielding, especially catching, is one area that still needs work. The three catches dropped on Thursday could have proved costly on another day. If their goal is to be the best fielding side at the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia, as Rohit Sharma said after the match, they will look to improve on those metrics.
In the absence of Theekshana (and Wanindu Hasaranga), it will once again be down to Jeffrey Vandersay and Praveen Jayawickrama to shoulder the responsibility in the spin department. The pace attack looks relatively experienced and settled but for Sri Lanka to beat India at home, not only their bowlers but also their batters need to come good. Sri Lanka know that, and therefore have added Niroshan Dickwella and Dhananjaya de Silva to the T20I squad with the two injuries.
India WWWWW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LWLLL
In the spotlight
Ruturaj Gaikwad was ruled out of the first T20I after he complained of pain in his right wrist, which is affecting his batting. If he remains unavailable, India could go in with an unchanged XI.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Ishan Kishan (wk), 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Sanju Samson, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Venkatesh Iyer, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Harshal Patel, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
To infuse some experience into the batting line-up, Sri Lanka could replace Kamil Mishara with Danushka Gunathilaka, while Dinesh Chandimal could make way for Dickwella.
Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Danushka Gunathilaka, 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Janith Liyanage, 5 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Chamika Karunaratne, 8 Dushmantha Chameera, 9 Jeffrey Vandersay, 10 Praveen Jayawickrama, 11 Lahiru Kumara
Pitch and conditions
Stats and trivia
“We have been very predictable in the games against big teams, thinking much about keeping our wickets in hand and slogging in the second half of the innings. But right now it’s very simple. All of us are so talented, we have got shots in our pockets and the captain and the coach believe in us. So we have to just go there and play our game. If the ball is there then we need to go for it rather than just taking a single.”
Ishan Kishan on India’s approach with the bat at the start of the innings
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo