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India vs Sri Lanka 2nd T20I, Preview: India lose 8 key players for remaining matches

By Devarchit Varma July 26, 2021

Venue: R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo

Time: 8:00PM IST

Average score at venue: 150

Win percentage while batting first: 66.67%

Pitch Conditions:

  • Leg-spinners will play a huge role in the remaining two matches of India’s tour of Sri Lanka, with the pair of Yuzvendra Chahal and Varun Chakravarthy delivering critical spells for the visiting team’s win on Sunday night.
  • The pitch at the R Premadasa Stadium remains conducive for batting, provided the batsmen read spin properly and also watch the ball closely while it is coming out of the seamers’ hand for variation.
  • Contrary to the importance of their role, spin bowlers have witnessed their domination slide a little at the Khettarama stadium, with their wicket-share percentage at 54.17% compared with 45.83% for the fast bowlers.

Weather prediction:

There are no thunderstorms or rain interventions expected on Wednesday night in Colombo, with the second T20I being postponed by one day due to Krunal Pandya testing positive and eight of his close contacts being forced into isolation. The game is expected to be safe from thunderstorms which are going to hit Colombo earlier in the day, with humidity levels increasing to 90%.

Head-to-head performance:

Matches played: 20

India won: 14

Sri Lanka won: 5

Tied: –

No result: 1


Matches played: 5

India won: 4

Sri Lanka won: 1

No result: –

Top 3 players from India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rahul Chahar, Sanju Samson

Top 3 players from Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Charith Asalanka, Dushmantha Chameera

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

Top 5 players from India: Shikhar Dhawan, Sanju Samson, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy

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


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

Spinners will continue to carry importance in the remainder of the series as India look to seal the affair on Wednesday night in the second match, whereas Sri Lanka will look to make most of the fact that India will be without a huge chunk, i.e., without eight of their key and front-line players. Both the teams have not been able to put any heavy score as of yet in the four matches so far across formats, and with their batting mainstays Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav unavailable for the rest of the series, India will   be tested to the hilt. Picking more spinners and in-form batsmen would be the key to go as far as constituting a fantasy cricket playing XI is concerned.

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

India are a supremely talented side with all-round talent that keeps them far ahead of Sri Lanka, despite the home team showing signs of progress and confidence so far in the four matches of the tour. India have been a team with more firepower both on the field as well as on paper, and it would be wise to pick more players from the visiting side for what could be the deciding match of the three-match T20I series. India will be without the services of as many as eight key players — Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Prithvi Shaw, Deepak Chahar, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ishan Kishan, Yuzvendra Chahal — who are under isolation and will miss the remainder of the series. India have thus added net bowlers, Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh in the main squad for the remainder of the Sri Lanka tour. 


Players’ form: India were not expected to make any heavy changes given that the series is on the line, but now that they are without eight of their important players, the visiting team will have to make significant changes to both their approach as well as squad in the remaining two matches. The absence of top order batsmen Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav puts additional responsibility on the shoulders of India captain Shikhar Dhawan, who will now have young and uncapped players such as Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad to work with. The role of Sanju Samson is equally important, with the wicketkeeper-batsman now required to bring out the best with the bat. Sri Lanka may feel it is a level-playing field now, given that they were not really able to challenge the might of the India’s second-string team. 

Changes in squad (if any): YES


INDIA (IND): Shikhar Dhawan (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Navdeep Saini, Varun Chakravarthy, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh/Chetan Sakariya.

SRI LANKA (SL): Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Ashen Bandara, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Chamika Karunaratne, Akila Dananjaya, Isuru Udana.


Shikhar Dhawan (c), Sanju Samson (wk), Avishka Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Manish Pandey, Dasun Shanaka, Chamika Karunaratne, Varun Chakravarthy, Rahul Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar. 


India lose 8 key players for remaining matches 

Not for the first time has the dreaded coronavirus invaded the India-Sri Lanka series, since for the first time an Indian player has been found positive and is set to miss the remainder of the tour, along with eight others, which leaves India without their core firepower on this trip to the island nation. 

Krunal Pandya was found coronarivus positive on Tuesday morning, a few hours before the start of the second T20I, which forced him out of action and eight others in Indian touring party, into isolation. 

On Wednesday, it was revealed that the other eight members of the Indian touring party who had been forced into isolation are all players and none from coaching staff. Each of these players have been effectively ruled out of the last two matches of the series. Their names are: Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Prithvi Shaw, Deepak Chahar, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ishan Kishan and Yuzvendra Chahal. 

With the core firepower of their team missing, and India have been able to add a few net bowlers into the main squad, but it is their batting which comes into spotlight with the exit of Shaw and Suryakumar. 

India captain Dhawan will have to work along with the likes of Sanju Samson, uncapped players in Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad as well as one-match old Nitish Rana, apart from hoping that senior player Manish Pandey comes good in the last two games.

India should not face enough dilemma when it comes to selecting their bowling attack since Bhuvneshwar Kumar is firing on all cylinders and there are others in Rahul Chahar, one-match old Chetan Sakariya, Navdeep Saini and Varun Chakravarthy who can play their roles well, given the promise that they carry in T20 cricket.

The remaining two T20Is will now be played on consecutive days, on Wednesday and Thursday, with India’s plans being disrupted on many levels. 

India won the opening game of the series by 38 runs in a commanding manner on Sunday night, despite putting up a moderate score of 164/5 batting first. They were, in a way, rescued by their bowlers who ensured that Sri Lanka never got away with the bat, striking at regular intervals and even sending down measly spells to keep the team on the top all the time.

The home team will certainly be disappointed with the way they batted in the first match despite the pitch being true to its nature and conducive for batting. All eyes will once again be on the pair of Avishka Fernando and Minod Bhanuka to provide Sri Lanka with a strong start, with others in Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka and even Chamka Karunaratne providing some fireworks with the bat.

Sri Lanka will be the team under pressure even more so since they have to undergo a qualifying round to make it to the T20 World Cup. They would know that this is where the hard work begins, and they will have to be at the top of their game in order to prevent India from sealing their second consecutive series on this tour at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.


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