Hairdryers, steam irons, and vacuum cleaners – these were the components used by the ground staff in a desperate attempt to clear the wet patches in the wicket and make the game happen. However, despite all the efforts, the first of the three games between India and Sri Lanka at the Barasapara Stadium in Guwahati resulted in getting abandoned. The wet patches became a major cause of concern as it delayed the start of the opening game even after the rain came to a halt. The staff received criticism for a poor organisation and the management of the pitch.
Despite the abandonment, the goals don’t change much for either side as they turn their attention to the second game in Indore on Tuesday. Consequently, we might witness no amendments to the playing eleven from both sides either. It was particularly interesting from Sri Lanka not to include Angelo Mathews for the opening T20I. They can look to slot him in the middle since the Lankans missed an anchor in the middle-order on their tour of Australia. Considering everything, it should be an exciting contest between the underdogs and the overwhelming favourites.
Date and venue: January 7th, 2020, 7:00 pm, Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore
The home side is expected to stick with the same playing eleven that Virat Kohli announced after winning the toss in the first game. From India’s point of view, it is encouraging to see them playing specialist bowlers instead of all-rounders.
Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini.
Sri Lanka may be hurting themselves by leaving out Angelo Mathews of the playing eleven. They have got a plethora of promising talent in their line-up – ones who can genuinely upset this Indian team. However, being an experienced campaigner, the think-tank can find a way to slot the all-rounder in. Moreover, Mathews averages 78 with the bat in India at a strike rate of 130. Nevertheless, they are likely not to tinker with this eleven in Indore.
Predicted XI: Avishka Fernando, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera (wk), Oshada Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Lasith Malinga (c)
The deck at the Holkar Stadium is reported as a batsman’s paradise. The only T20I hosted at this venue saw India plunder 260 against Sri Lanka back in December 2017. With dew forecasted in the second innings, teams may be better off chasing a total.
The good news for the fans is that rains aren’t expected in Indore. Yet, one may witness the climate get hazy, windy, and partly cloudy.
Head to Head:
India won: 11
Sri Lanka won: 5
No result – 1
Stats that matter:
Rohit Sharma brought his century off 35 deliveries in Indore in December 2017 against Sri Lanka. The hundred was the joint-fastest in T20 internationals along with David Miller and Sudesh Wickramasekara.
Jasprit Bumrah has the chance to become India’s highest wicket-taker in the shortest format, having 51 wickets already under his belt. With Yuzvendra Chahal currently topping the charts and the leggie not expected to play in the second match, the lanky seamer chances seem overwhelming.
Lasith Malinga will become the most capped player for Sri Lanka in T20 internationals when he features in his 81st T20 game. Currently, Malinga and Tilakaratne Dilshan are tied at 80 matches each in the shortest format for the national team.
The Indian team possesses everything in its armoury to brush aside Sri Lanka in this match and the series along with the history on their side. But don’t be surprised if the young guns from the Island nation step up and bring their top-notch game as they did against Pakistan a few months ago.