Will Sri Lanka batsmen finally have an answer against India's spin duo     Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav?    AFP
Will Sri Lanka batsmen finally have an answer against India’s spin duo Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav? AFP

Sri Lanka‘s totals from the last 5 T20Is read 170, 102, 124 for 9, 144 for 9, 87. Hence, their performance at Cuttack was surely not a one-off affair. Against India, Dame Fortune hasn’t quite smiled at them whenever Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav came into the attack. Like many in the cricket fraternity, I have the same (boring) question for the umpteenth time will Sri Lanka finally move on from their flaws and stand tall? Harsha Bhogle had signed off on air by stating that Sri Lanka aren’t that bad a team, at least on paper. It is time they inject some competition and keep the spectators awake.

What’s new?

Just like the readers, even I am perplexed on ‘what is new.’ As mentioned in the headline, India will want to give their fringed players more games against the Lankans.

The younger lot Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Basil Thampi were selected in the squad for the first time in the ongoing T20Is. They were expected to be thrilled and excited, but was it the case? Can you blame them if they have (I hope they haven’t) have sent a grievance letter to BCCI on the grounds that they would have preferred a Zimbabwe or West Indies tour. One wonders whether a debut against a Sri Lankan side this weak will motivate anyone.

From viewers’ point…

Cuttack fans erupted when MS Dhoni came into bat at No. 4. Rohit Sharma has stated that Dhoni is best utilised at that position. It will now be interesting to see whether he is given a longer rope (remember, everyone will be pushed one slot down once Virat Kohli returns). Fans at Holkar Stadium, Indore would hope for the same.

Sri Lanka need to rethink (sorry for the obvious statement). Their innings last shorter than their national anthem these days. A line-up consisting of Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera and Dasun Shanaka looks so good on paper that they should write an apology letter (with a pen of poor quality) for their horrendous performance in Cuttack.

Jokes apart, if they cannot counterattack, the Sri Lankan batsmen should at least try to keep Chahal and Kuldeep at bay. To be fair, their bowling wasn’t poor in the series opener. They simply came up against an explosive batting line-up on a flat wicket. Nonetheless, they need more wicket-taking deliveries, especially in the middle overs.

If the above mentioned things don’t fall into place, it will be another warm-up encounter for India’s fringe players in the second T20I.

India likely XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, MS Dhoni (wk), Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Jaydev Unadkat, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah

India would not like to change their XI, and look to seal the series.

Sri Lanka XI: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando, Nuwan Pradeep

I hereby sign off, for I cannot provide further angle to the preview.

Squads:

India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Basil Thampi, Jaydev Unadkat

Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (c), Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Asela Gunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando

Time: 19:00 IST