After a rain-marred affair in Guwahati, India showed their class in Indore as they thrashed the hosts by seven wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The two teams will now travel to Pune for the third and final game of the series.
The hosts have a comfortable lead as far as the shortest format of the game is concerned. India have won 12 of the 18 T20 Internationals played between the two nations with only five going to Sri Lanka. One game was abandoned.
India hold a 3-1 lead in the last five T20Is as well while four of the last five T20 games between the two sides in India have all been taken by the hosts.
Ground details and team combination
The MCA Stadium has played host to just two T20 Internationals which have not been very high-scoring games. In fact, the last time these two teams met in the shortest format of the game at this venue, India were knocked over for a mere 101.
However, recent numbers at the ground are skewed more towards the batsmen. In six T20 games since the start of 2018, batsmen have scored at a run-rate of 8.8 here averaging 31.1 runs per wicket. The bowlers have managed to pick up a wicket only every 21.6 deliveries during the time frame.
Judging by the recent statistics, picking a batting-heavy unit should be a no-brainer.
On the bowling front, spinners have a slight edge over their fast bowling counterparts at this venue. In T20 games since the start of 2018, spinners have struck every 22.9 balls here as compared to pacers who have picked up a wicket every 23.7 balls.
Further diving into the different bowler types, slow left-arm orthodox bowlers have been the most effective at this venue having struck a wicket every 22.3 balls while right-arm pacers and right arm off-spinners are also not too far behind on the list. While India did not pick Ravindra Jadeja for the Indore T20I, they could consider him at Pune.
A combination of five frontline batsmen including the wicket-keeper, two all-rounders, two spinners and two fast bowlers could be the way to go for this game.
KL Rahul is on a hot streak and just does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. Since 2019, Rahul has scored 401 runs in 10 innings in T20Is at an average of 44.56 and he is slowly making the place at the top of the order his own. He was excellent in Indore as well where he spanked a 32-ball 45 and will once again want to create an impact in Pune. He is fighting for a spot in the final eleven with Dhawan going into the T20 World Cup and will want to prove himself with every chance he gets.
Virat Kohli batted just 17 balls in the second T20i but showed his class smashing an unbeaten 30 to take India to a win. Furthermore, Sri Lanka is one of Kohli’s favourite opponents in the format. He has an average of 104.33 against the islanders having smashed 313 runs in 5 innings. He also has fond memories of MCA Stadium, a venue where he recently clubbed 254 not out in a test match against South Africa. Kohli has been India’s most prolific run-getter in the shortest format of the game since the start of 2019 and there seems little stopping him at the moment.
Kuldeep Yadav has played just four T20 Internationals since the start of 2019 but has left an impact in most games. Left-arm wrist-spinners are a rare commodity in the shortest format of the game and Kuldeep has often been hard to get away. This was on display on Indore as well where he returned two wickets. His record against Sri Lanka in T20Is is also excellent. He has returned 10 wickets in five innings against the islanders striking every 12 balls. Kuldeep is one player sure to get you some crucial points.
He is fast, he is wiry and he is raring. He has a lot of competition but the way Navdeep Saini is bowling, he suddenly looks a contender in the team heading to Australia for the T20 World Cup later this year. Saini has quickly risen up the ranks in the limited chances he has got. He is skiddy in nature and consistently hitting speeds in excess of 140 kmph makes it very difficult to get him away. The Pune surface will also suit his style of play and he will want to leave a mark there once again.
It is expected to be nice and sunny in Pune on game day with the evening getting cooler. The temperature is expected to hover around the mid-20 degree mark.
Virat Kohli (vc), Kusal Perera (wk), KL Rahul (C) , Shreyas Iyer, Avishka Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Wanindu Hasaranga, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini