Given how things have so far panned out, India remains the favorites in the second fixture.
Sri Lanka disproved all the expectations of continuing their rise after a couple of fighting shows in the last two ODIs, as they surrendered rather meekly against India in the T20I series-opener to start another series on a disappointing note.
To say that Sri Lanka did not have their moments would be wrong. But they had very little, and even those very little were left uncapitalized. For instance, in an overcast evening in Colombo, Dushmantha Chameera’s jaffa had Prithvi Shaw walking back for a golden duck on debut, but Shikhar Dhawan and Suryakumar Yadav proved too good later as India quickly shifted gears and accelerated in the face of the departure of a batter who was billed as the most exciting prospect for the night.
Yadav managed to dominate one of the better bowlers – Wanindu Hasaranga – from the opponent camp, and there is hardly anyone to disagree that he already seems to possess the maturity of a player at least a decade into international cricket when all he was playing on Sunday was his fourth T20I. Not for nothing did Dhawan, a veteran of 66 T20Is, admitted that Yadav took the “pressure from him”.
Concerns for India have not been too many, keeping aside Hardik Pandya’s form, who is yet to have a performance of note in either of the departments in the series. Even though he is back to his all-rounder duties as he has bowled, he has often lacked the wicket-taking zing with the ball, while with the bat his scores read 0, 19 and 10 on the tour so far.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, much to India’s liking, Bhuvneshwar Kumar got back to doing what he is known to do the best: taking wickets in death overs. Kumar returned with 4 for 22 in a 3.3-over spell, and while he claimed a crucial scalp of Avishka Fernando early on, it was the last three wickets that would have given him and India a wider smile, for they came in the death-overs territory Kumar had made his own, but had also lost his control over to an extent in the recent past.
For Sri Lanka, had their batsmen managed to show some character, the 38-run loss could have instead easily been a victory in a regulation chase. However, barring Charith Asalanka, who showed a good deal of aggression during his 26-ball 44, there was no other batter who seemed in a mood to even attempt a simplistic eight-an-over chase. At 90/3 in the 13th over, one would have still given the hosts a chance, but they ended up collapsing to 126 all out courtesy of Deepak Chahar and Player of the Match Bhuvneshwar to pull off exactly the kind of show that riles up Mickey Arthur.
As much as India have been impressive in capturing small passages of play on the tour, Sri Lanka have been disappointing. In a format known for its unpredictability, Sri Lanka might spring a surprise if they could manage firing in unison, but given how things have so far panned out, India remains the favorites in the second fixture.
Pitch and conditions
Overcast conditions helped the pacers enjoy their time alongside spinners in the first T20I, with as many as 10 of the total 15 wickets going to pace. There are chances of rain in the evening once again on Tuesday.
Playing combination for SL vs IND
After being dropped from the ODIs, Sri Lanka brought back Isuru Udana in the shorter format. Although, their move did not pay much as he went for 32 runs in a wicketless four-over spell. Sri Lanka might want to give Lahiru Kumara a look-in in that slot.
Predicted XI: Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka (WK), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka (C), Chamika Karunaratne, Isuru Udana/Lahiru Kumara, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera
Shikhar Dhawan had clarified India’s approach to claim the series before going for wholesale changes as they did in the final ODI. Given that, it remains unlikely that they will alter the combination.
Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan (C), Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy
SL vs IND Head-to-Head
Played – 20 | Sri Lanka – 5 | India – 14 | N/R – 1 | Tied- 0
In Sri Lanka
Played – 6 | Sri Lanka – 1 | India – 5 | N/R – 0 | Tie-0
Match – Sri Lanka vs India 2nd T20I
Venue – R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Time – 08:00 PM IST
Telecast – Sony Sports Network, Sony LIV