Sri Lanka takes on India in the 3rd and final T20I of the CoinDCX T20I series on Thursday, 29th July, at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. This match comes just one day after the conclusion of the 2nd T20I, which was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test for Krunal Pandya.
With Krunal and those deemed his close contacts unavailable for selection, India had just eleven of twenty players to choose from. While they added their net bowlers to their squad, India was forced to field the remaining eleven players, resulting in a slightly off-balanced team.
They handed out debuts to four players, including Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad, who made their first appearances on this tour.
Put into bat, India got off to a decent start on a sluggish track. However, things began to unravel after Ruturaj Gaikwad was dismissed in the 7th over.
The Sri Lankan tweakers spun a web around the Indian batters, and while Devdutt Padikkal tried to launch a counter-attack, he was castled by Hasaranga. Skipper Shikhar Dhawan also perished after a 42-ball 40.
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar batting at No.6, India lacked depth in their batting order, and the extra caution they showed to avoid exposing the long tail came back to bite them in the death overs. They struggled their way to 132/5 in 20 overs, a sub-par total despite the slow pitch.
The Sri Lankan bowlers made full use of India's limited batting strength and didn't give much away. None of their bowlers had an economy rate greater than 7.50, showing that India were never allowed to get away at any stage of the innings.
While India started promisingly with the ball, Minod Bhanuka rode his luck to take Sri Lanka to a decent position. Dhananjaya de Silva anchored the chase, batting at No.5, and finished with a mature and composed 34-ball 40.
Wanindu Hasaranga and Chamika Karunaratne also contributed some vital runs as Sri Lanka scampered home despite a spirited bowling effort from India.
Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the bowlers for India, and his figures of 2/30 in four overs do him no justice. He had one dropped catch and one missed review that could have easily changed the momentum of the game.
With Navdeep Saini getting injured towards the end of the match, India might have to select one of their net bowlers in the 3rd ODI, with the other nine squad members unlikely to be available for selection.
With the series well poised at 1-1 and India likely to be a batter short once more, the 3rd T20I could make for a very thrilling series decider.
Date: July 29, 2021 (Thursday)
Time: 08:00 PM (Local), 8:00 PM (IST), and 02:30 PM (GMT)
Venue: R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
It should be another warm evening in Colombo with an average temperature of around 28 degrees celsius. There is a very minimal chance of rain occurring during the 3rd T20I.
The surface at the R Premadasa Stadium has gradually slowed down throughout the series, and we're likely to see another sticky and sluggish playing surface for the 3rd T20I. Slower balls should become very effective after the ball loses its shine, with spinners likely to get a lot of turn.
Any score around the 150-run mark should be a competitive one.
IND v SL 2nd T20I Predicted XIs
Having registered a much-needed T20I victory, Sri Lanka should stick to the same team that they fielded for the 2nd T20I. They'll hope that their batters can keep their composure when it matters the most and support their bowlers, who've done a pretty good job throughout the series.
Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka (WK), Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka (C), Wanindu Hasaranga, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Isuru Udana, Dushmantha Chameera, and Akila Dananjaya.
With Rahul Dravid confirming that the nine isolated players will play no further part in the series, India should stick with the same team they fielded in the 2nd T20I. However, if (and we hope not) Saini's injury is serious, Arshdeep Singh and Ishan Porel are the two net bowlers they can consider including as his replacement.
India will hope that their debutants' nerves would have settled and that they can produce a more assured performance in the all-important 3rd T20I.
India: Shikhar Dhawan (C), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson (WK), Nitish Rana, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Chahar, Navdeep Saini/ Ishan Porel/ Arshdeep Singh, Kuldeep Yadav, Chetan Sakaria, and Varun Chakravarthy.
With India forced to field an imbalanced side, Sri Lanka could take advantage of that and force them to take risks and get a chance at exposing their shallow batting order.
While there is immense quality in this Indian side, the grit and intelligence that Sri Lanka showed in the 2nd T20I suggest they have what it takes to nick this T20I trophy from India and achieve a very elusive success.
Prediction: Sri Lanka to win
IND v SL TV channel and live streaming details
TV: Sony Six
Live Streaming: SonyLiv