India will be playing Sri Lanka in the third and final T20I of the series on January 10 in Pune. The hosts have already taken a 1-0 lead in the three match series, with a clinical win in the second T20I.
Virat Kohli will be looking to seal the series with a similar victory in the final T20I as well. The first match in Guwahati was washed out.
The bowlers executed their plans well in the second match, restricting the visitors to a score of 142-9. Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini impressed with their performances.
It was an easy run-chase afterwards as India reached the target with 15 balls to spare. Opener KL Rahul impressed again, while his partner Shikhar Dhawan struggled to get going. Dhawan will take the third T20I as an opportunity to make a case for the second opener’s slot in India’s T20 World Cup squad. Rohit Sharma was rested for this series, and Dhawan is facing tough competition from KL Rahul.
With a dominant batting performance in the previous T20I, India can now test their bench strength by bringing in either Manish Pandey or Sanju Samson in the middle order.
Sanju Samson has been knocking the door for quite some time with consistent performances in the domestic circuit.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli is unlikely to change the bowling combination, as Jasprit Bumrah might need more match time after his injury lay-off. Washington Sundar and Kuldeep Yadav are Kohli’s preferred spin-bowling choices against Sri Lanka, which means Yuzvendra Chahal might have to sit out for another match.
For Sri Lanka, Isuru Udana will have to sit out nursing an injury which means the experienced Angelo Mathews might get a chance in the middle. In the second T20I, Sri Lanka struggled in the middle overs and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Mathews’ experience against spin bowlers would come in handy for the visitors.
Sri Lankan bowlers went for plenty of runs in the previous match, which means they will have to regroup and look to contain India’s run-flow. Sri Lanka can take the match as a do-or-die contest as a win here can salvage them a drawn series.
Pune is expected to have clear skies at the time of the match with minimum temperature in the city reaching 17 degree Celsius.
Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini
Lasith Malinga (C), Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Janith Perera (WK), Angelo Mathews, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya De Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha