Nidahas Trophy, Game 1: Sri Lanka v India Match Preview, Head-to-Head, Team News, Pitch and Weather Conditions
Nidahas Trophy 2018 is scheduled to begin on 6th March. The tri-series is being played on the occasion of Sri Lanka's 70th Independence Day.
The Independence Cup was first played in 1998 between India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the 50-over-format. This is the second edition of the tournament which will be played in the form of a 20-over tri-series between Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. Each team will face the other two teams twice in the group stages and all the matches will be held at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The Men in Blue will take on the hosts tomorrow in what is expected to be an exciting encounter.
Following a hectic season, many Indian players have been rested as the selectors have decided to send a second string side to the Island Nation. The Indian side will be led by Rohit Sharma who captained them to a series victory against Sri Lanka back in December.
Rohit has a 100% record as skipper for his nation (four matches). The side is full of youngsters who will be raring to go and prove themselves. Experienced campaigners like Suresh Raina will also look to stamp their dominance and make a comeback into the one-day side. Jaydev Unadkat can also use this opportunity to stake his claim.
The selectors have persisted with two wicketkeepers in the squad. Dinesh Karthik's experience may give him the edge ahead of the 20-year-old Rishabh Pant.
Sri Lanka have suffered defeats in five of their last six T20Is played on home soil whereas India will come into this game having won six of their last seven outings in the format. Sri Lanka have had their own share of problems in recent times. The side from the Island Nation have struggled to find a balanced XI. They have changed several captains in their attempt to form a stable unit.
Injuries too have plagued them. However, under the leadership of Dinesh Chandimal, the Sri Lankans will look to surprise the other teams on home soil. Sri Lanka recently won a tri-series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and will be looking to extend that winning run.
Sri Lanka have decided to stick with their experienced players in Upul Tharanga and Suranga Lakmal, who has been named the vice-captain. The side also feature Kusal Mendis who has been out of action for a while. Niroshan Dickwella has been dropped after a poor show. In the previous series against India, Dickwella was dismissed thrice by Unadkat in three T20Is, all in similar ways.
The selectors have also axed T20 specialist Lasith Malinga. All-rounder Dhananjaya De Silva was picked after Asela Gunaratne was ruled out last week due to a shoulder injury.
The home conditions will not favour the Lankans much as the pitch is expected to be flat.
India Probable XI: Rohit Sharma(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik(wk), Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur
Sri Lanka Probable XI: Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera(wk), Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal(c), Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Amila Aponso
Pitch and conditions
The pitch is expected to be flat. Out of the last five encounters in Colombo, the team batting second has won three games whilst the team batting first has won two. The average first innings total at Colombo in the last five games has been 158.
Dew will be an important factor as well. The team which wins the toss will look to bat first on this wicket. We are all set for a thrilling encounter at Colombo.