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India vs Sri Lanka 1st T20I, Preview: India minus Shaw, Suryakumar wary of confident Sri Lanka

By Devarchit Varma July 25, 2021

Venue: R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo

Time: 8:00PM IST

Average score at venue: 143

Win percentage while batting first: 50%

Pitch Conditions:

  • Spinners have begun playing crucial roles in the proceedings at the R Premadasa Stadium in this bilateral India-Sri Lanka affair, and they will have an equally important role to play in the three-match T20I series as well. 
  • While batsmen can continue to hope for big runs, they will be required to show both application and discipline in order to get the desired results.
  • Spin bowlers have a huge return factor at the Khettarama Stadium with a wicket-share percentage of 63.64% compared to 36.36% for the fast bowlers. 

Weather prediction:

There are thunderstorms expected late on Sunday night in Colombo with clouds being present throughout the match hours, which has an 8:00PM local time start. The temperature will remain static at around 27°C with humidity levels at a high of 89%.

Head-to-head performance:

Matches played: 19

India won: 13

Sri Lanka won: 5

Tied: – 

No result: 1


Matches played: 4

India won: 3

Sri Lanka won: 1

No result: – 

Top 3 players from India: Shikhar Dhawan, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar

Top 3 players from Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka

Top picks for H2H/WTA contest (top 5 players each)

Top 5 players from India: Shikhar Dhawan, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Chetan Sakariya, Deepak Chahar 

Top 5 players from Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Charith Asalanka, Chamika Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva. 


Should I pick more bowlers, batsmen or all-rounders?

With spinners having more than 63% of the wicket-share at the R Premadasa Stadium in the shortest format, it makes sense to deck up the bowling attack with more spinners and those seam bowlers with plenty of variations up their sleeves. Sri Lanka benefited immensely with the inclusion of veteran spinner Akila Dananjaya, who returned with three wickets along with two from rookie tweaker Praveen Jayawickrama in the final ODI on Friday. On their part, debutant Indian spinner Rahul Chahar would have had better results had India held on to their chances off him, but nevertheless, he is likely to play a crucial part in the three-match T20 a series in the company of senior bowlers Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav — depending on the choice of India’s spin attack for the clash on Sunday night. 

From which team should I pick more players in my XI? Which team is stronger?

Sri Lanka’s performance in the last two matches of the ODI series has certainly improved, which indicates that the home team is concentrating on putting up a fight against India and not sulk over their poor recent showings. Avishka Fernando is coming off two splendid half-centuries, Minod Bhanuka has done well behind wickets whereas Bhanuka Rajapaksa was a part of a match-winning partnership in third ODI. Charith Asalanka and Chamika Karunaratne are two important players for Sri Lanka in their lower order. On the other hand, the Indian side is certainly extremely talented and has tremendous depth, but they will have to do better than their overall performance on Friday wherein they could not make a strong impact with the bat and also uncharacteristically dropped catches. 


Players’ form: India will feel slightly depleted as their batting stars Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav have been asked to join the team in England, where they have already lost the services of Avesh Khan and Washington Sundar to injuries with the Test series yet to start. Nevertheless, the group in Sri Lanka should be pleased with the form of Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan — both can keep wickets and play as a non-wicketkeeper and the situation presents them with an opportunity to play these two T20 stars. India will also have to be very smart with their choice of bowling attack with Rahul Chahar in fray along with senior bowlers in Chahal and Yadav in the touring party. Shikhar Dhawan’s bat has gone quiet of sorts in the last two matches but the Indian captain will be expected to fire in the shortest format, where he has been making plenty of runs in the Indian Premier League (Indian T20). India would also like the lower-order which consists of Krunal Pandya and Hardik Pandya to come good with their all-round skills.

Changes in squad (if any): YES


INDIA (IND): Shikhar Dhawan (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Devdutt Padikkal/Ruturaj Gaikwad, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal/Rahul Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Chetan Sakariya, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav. 

SRI LANKA (SL): Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Dushmantha Chameera, Chamika Karunaratne, Kasun Rajitha.


Shikhar Dhawan (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka, Chamika Karunaratne, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar. 


India minus Shaw and Suryakymar wary of confident Sri Lanka

In a short video clip shared by the BCCI after India completed a memorable victory in the second ODI to clinch the series, the visiting team’s coach-on-tour Rahul Dravid can be heard talking about the possibility of a backlash from the opposition.

Knowing Dravid and his peculiar, personalised way of aggression, the use of a moderate set of words ‘response from the opposition’ certainly does not insinuate any fear in his young and inexperienced bunch of players, but advises the visiting side of being wary against complacency and not to take the opposition for granted, irrespective of their returns over the last 2-3 years. 

That said, if anything, Sri Lanka have been dogged and exuberant despite their recent run of form and the heavy defeat in the first ODI. The home team might have looked out of sorts in the opening contest of the tour but since then, they have been a bunch refusing to give up the fight and throw in the towel without ‘responding’ in their own manner.

Indeed, Sri Lanka have only been getting better and it is certainly a welcome sign for a team which has been struggling for a long time in ODI cricket.

Additionally, the quality and standard of Indian cricket team also might just have forced the home team to raise their game or run the risk of being obliterated. 

The island nation with a bunch of rookie players and a famous international coach Mickey Arthur — presently in news for his swearing caught on TV and not necessarily the tremendous hard work that he has put in over the years — has brought back smiles for a passionate cricket nation parched for success and happy times. 

India will certainly be without two of their best batsmen on the tour, Shaw and Suryakumar, who have been called up to join the travel party in England currently dealing with a string of injuries. The departure of this aggressive pair would certainly bring some relief in the Sri Lankan camp, which has time and again been rattled by their aggressive batting and the firepower they provide to the Indian team.

Their absence also means that others in Dhawan, Pandey, Kishan, Samson and the untested pair of Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad will have to shoulder the responsibility of getting the runs in the T20I series.

Apart from expecting some runs from the captain Dhawan, India will certainly hope for big returns from Pandey who has had a strong run in the middle order but hasn’t been able to make the impact that he can. The same can be said for Krunal and Hardik Pandya, who carry a great role and responsibility in this Indian side. 

The home team will be expecting their star performers from the ODI series — Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka, Chamika Karunaratne and even Dasun Shanaka — to continue with their promising run. 

India have traditionally dominated Sri Lanka in the T20I format with 13 wins in 19 matches overall, but these are a new and inexperienced teams that have plenty of areas to work on. For India, particularly their catching — an area where the visitors were poor in the final ODI. 


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