Opportunity to fine-tune combination ahead of upcoming T20 home series against Australia and New ZealandIndia will aim to cap off its super-successful Sri Lanka tour with another victory in the one-off T20 International here on Wednesday. A result other than an India win looks unlikely, considering the rampaging run in the Test and ODI series, where it blanked the host 3-0 and 5-0 respectively.
The game provides India an opportunity to fine-tune team a combination ahead of the upcoming T20 home series against Australia and New Zealand. India is on an experimentation drive ahead of the 2019 50-over World Cup and one name it could have tried here is Rishabh Pant, who was not named in the squad.
It is all the more surprising since the selectors had an opportunity to send him for this stand-alone game when Shikhar Dhawan returned home to tend to his ailing mother this past weekend. In the lone T20 against West Indies at Jamaica, Virat Kohli had opened the innings with Dhawan with Pant slotting in at no.3. As such, their dual absence will necessitate at least a couple changes from the Indian skipper.
Rohit Sharma slots back in automatically whilst K.L. Rahul and Manish Pandey would be expected to bring up the middle order.
Kedar Jadhav, who scored a much needed half-century in the final ODI, could be afforded another chance to prove his credentials as India prepare for a long limited-overs’ schedule at home. Hardik Pandya was rested for that fifth match on Sunday, and he too is expected to return to the playing eleven.
Jasprit Bumrah is a shoo-in of course, whilst it remains to be seen if Shardul Thakur will get another go after proving expensive in the last match at Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s expense.
Kohli does like to field leg-spinners in the shortest format, and he played both Yuzvendra Chahal and Amit Mishra against England at both Nagpur and Bengaluru. He is expected to repeat this trick with Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav this time around. Even so, there were no sure hints coming forth as the Indian team enjoyed an additional off day ahead of the game and did not practice.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has made a few changes to its original squad after suffering the 5-0 whitewash. Leg spinner Jeffrey Vandersay and seam-bowling all-rounder Dasun Shanaka are prominent additions. Surprisingly, left-arm leg spinner Lakshan Sandakan has been left out of the squad.
The Lankan team management had talked about resting Kusal Mendis as he was fatigued, and he has been duly left out. The teams:
India: Virat Kohli (capt.), Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul, Manish Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane, Kedar Jadhav, M.S. Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga (capt.), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilshan Munaweera, Dasun Shanaka, Milinda Siriwardana, Wanindu Hasaranga, Akila Dananjay, Jeffrey Vandersay, Isuru Udana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal and Vikum Sanjaya.
(Source: The Hindu