Earlier this year, Team India and Sri Lanka faced off in a three-match T20I series that was a clear reflection of where the two sides stand in the format right now. The Men in Blue, hosting the assignment, cruised to comfortable victories in all three games, barely breaking a sweat irrespective of whether they were batting first or chasing.
India and Sri Lanka will face off in the Super 4 stage of the 2022 Asia Cup on Tuesday, September 6 under slightly different circumstances. On the back of a win over Afghanistan, the Lankans are in a good position at the top of the Super 4 table. India, on the other hand, fell to Pakistan by five wickets and are in desperate need of a comfortable win to strengthen their final hopes.
Rohit Sharma and Co. will take confidence from their recent T20I record against Sri Lanka, which has been spotless barring the COVID-hit tour of the island nation last year. They will also be boosted by the intent they showed at the top of the order against Pakistan, something that is likely to be replicated although a cluster of wickets left the team scavenging for capable batters at the end of the innings.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have notched up two close wins on the trot after their comprehensive loss to Afghanistan in the group stage. The fact that they managed to put up an improved batting display in their previous game would've settled some of their nerves, but it's indisputable that their bowling attack needs to come to the party on Tuesday.
Asia Cup 2022: India look to bounce back against familiar foes Sri Lanka
Can India's powerplay bowling trouble Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka at the top of the order? The right-handed duo have shown some intent and gotten Sri Lanka off to decent starts in the last two games, and the middle order has also displayed marked improvements. Charith Asalanka's form, though, remains a concern for Dasun Shanaka and the team management.
Against a plethora of left-handers in the Sri Lankan middle order, Ravi Bishnoi will be invaluable with his googlies and away angle. India may even choose to play Ravichandran Ashwin, who has warmed the bench thus far in the Asia Cup but almost always guarantees economical spells. The veteran off-spinner would also add some batting depth to the lineup, something that is desperately needed.
The updated list of Asia Cup Teams and Squads can be viewed here.
Would Sri Lanka consider making a couple of changes of their own in the bowling department? They have Praveen Jayawickrama on the bench, with the Indians' weakness against left-arm spinners having come to the fore of late. But who can Jayawickrama replace? The Lankans have a settled combination, and they might not want to tinker with it right now.
Overall, India are easily the more capable side although Sri Lanka have match-winners like Wanindu Hasaranga and Bhanuka Rajapaksa who might be able to produce something out of the ordinary. The toss could play a big role, with chasing teams having a massive advantage in the UAE. Taking the coin out of the equation, the Men in Blue are the definite favorites.
Prediction: India to win Match 3 of the Super 4 stage of the Asia Cup
Poll : Who will win Tuesday's Asia Cup match?