India are faced with a tricky decision ahead of the third and final Twnety20 International against Sri Lanka at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune. Will captain Virat Kohli and the think tank want to test their bench strength – the likes of Manish Pandey and Sanju Samson, who have been trying hard to break into the batting order?
The three-match series was reduced to a two-match affair after the series opener in Guwahati was washed out without a ball being bowled. The hosts dished out a clinical performance and defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets at Indore.
With a series win at stake, the focus will be on India’s think tank. Will they want to go ahead with the same winning combination in a bid to clinch the series or will they try out different combinations and think of the bigger picture which is the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup in Australia this year.
What may make the hosts to opt for the latter will be Sri Lanka’s struggles with inexperience and the fact that India cannot lose the series.
The opening combination looks to remain the same with KL Rahul set to partner Shikhar Dhawan. Shreyas Iyer was promoted to the top and he grabbed the opportunity with a 26-ball 34. Will India rest him for this game and give one of Pandey or Samson a chance?
In the bowling department, India have been experimenting a lot in the absence of senior pacers. Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini have already made an impression in the previous game by sharing five wickets among themselves.
Jasprit Bumrah, returning to action after almost four months, did not have the best of outings in his comeback game on Tuesday, conceding 32 runs for one wicket in four overs. However, it wasn’t unexpected that he would be rusty given his lengthy period off the game due to back injury. With the nerves sure to have settled, Bumrah will fancy himself to lead the attack once again.
Kuldeep Yadav and Washington Sundar (1-29) are likely to retain their given that Sri Lanka have plenty of left handers which means that Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal will have to sit out.
So, will India use the Pune T20I for another experiment? Let’s wait and watch!
Details of how and where you can follow the action LIVE:
What: India vs Sri Lanka 3rd T20I
When: January 10 (Friday)
Where: Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune
Time: 7 pm IST
Weather: Clear skies with a maximum high of 29 degrees Celsius
On TV: Star Sports Network (in India)
LIVE Streaming: Hotstar
You can also LIVE coverage of the match on India.com: India vs Sri Lanka 3rd T20I
IND vs SL My Dream11
Wicketkeeper – Rishabh Pant, Kusal Perera
Batsmen – Shikhar Dhawan (captain), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Danushka Gunathilaka
All-Rounders – Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva
Bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini (vice-captain)
IND vs SL Predicted XI
India: Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav/Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah
Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera (WK), Angelo Mathews/Oshada Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Malinga (C), Lahiru Kumara
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Manish Pandey, Washington Sundar, Sanju Samson
Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (c), D Gunathilaka, A Fernando, A Mathews, D Shanaka, K Perera, N Dickwella, Dhananjaya De Silva, I Udana, B Rajapaksa, O Fernando, W Hasaranga, L Kumara, K Mendis, L Sandakan, K Rajitha