Former India batsman Aakash Chopra opined that Sri Lanka will start the third T20I on Thursday as slight favourites over an inexperienced Indian side. The hosts won a close encounter, the second T20I, on Wednesday against a visiting team that was forced to make a plethora of changes including fielding four debutants – Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal, Nitish Rana and Chetan Sakariya.
Gaikwad and Padikkal did well for their respective scores of 21 and 29 on a difficult batting track while Rana and Sakariya weren’t too impressive. Aakash Chopra, however, felt that expecting the youngsters to win international matches would be too much, despite their IPL success, and hence he has Sri Lanka in front for the deciding game on Thursday.
“Due to the extraordinary circumstances, Team India are weak in the batting. If you look at the batting line-up available for Team India, Shikhar Dhawan has Ruturaj Gaikwad as opening partner followed by Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson, Nitish Rana and then Bhuvneshwar Kumar,” Aakash Chopra said in his YouTube video.
“That’s not really a batting lineup. There is no depth in it. Yes, there is quality but it is not proven. These youngsters have only just entered international cricket. You cannot expect them to win matches immediately. Of course, we need to be hopeful but Sri Lanka definitely have the edge now,” he added.
If India score 150 batting first, they can still beat Sri Lanka: Aakash Chopra
There is one way where the 43-year-old commentator believes India can win the third T20I, and thus the series. Citing the example of IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad, Aakash Chopra said if India’s top three can do the bulk of the scoring and spend more time at the crease, then the weakened lower-order would not be needed.
“I am sure what Rahul (Dravid) will be telling everyone is that in T20 matches, if the top 3 perform well, then you don’t need a lot from those batting at 5,6 and 7.
“Take the case of Sunrisers Hyderabad. When Dhawan was playing for them, the top three – Dhawan, David Warner and Kane Williamson – mostly did the job for them. If Team India score 150 batting first, they can still beat Sri Lanka. The visitors will bat if they win the toss. And if they lose, the Lankans are going to send Team India into bat,” the former opener stated.