Team India, who had a terrific outing in 2019 will be keen to make a winning start to the year when they lock horns with Sri Lanka in the first of the three-match T20I series starting from January 5 (Sunday) at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati. The focus will be on returning stars Jasprit Bumrah and Shikhar Dhawan while Angelo Mathews will be making a comeback after a long injury lay-off.
India-Sri Lanka lock horns
On the other hand, for Sri Lanka, the focus will be on experienced Mathews, who had been axed from the Sri Lankan T20I side after a string of poor performances in mid-2018. Having featured in 72 T20Is scoring 1055 runs at a reasonable average of 27.05, Mathews lends solidity to a promising but sometimes frail Sri Lankan batting line-up. He will perhaps want to work on his strike-rate, which currently reads 118.14 in the shortest format.
Batting was an area of particular concern for Sri Lanka on their tour of Australia late last year – they lost 3-0 – and they will hope that the return of Mathews can help fix some of those problems as the T20 World Cup looms large.
India have won the toss and elected to field first in the first T20I in Guwahati.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur
Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera(w), Oshada Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Lasith Malinga(c)
Here is what the captains said
We’re gonna bowl first. We haven’t played here in a while. The last time we played here, we chased well. The game we played prior to that against Australia, they chased well too. The track does play differently in the second half as compared to the first part. It’s a good thing actually, there isn’t too much of a difference in conditions, except that the track settles down better later on with the wet ball. Last year was outstanding for us in two formats, T20s not so much. Good thing though is that we have a World Cup coming up and we’ll be taking things more seriously. Pandey, Samson, Chahal and Jadeja aren’t playing. Kuldeep and Washington because of their left-handers and we have three seamers.
Happy to bat first. Don’t think the track will change too much. We have prepared well and will want to put it into performances. Need to put runs on the board and then take it from there. We have brought 16 players as we need to finetune our combination for the World Cup. Three seamers and two spinners for us. Need five genuine bowlers to put pressure on India.