SL search for series draw
Sri Lanka will hope to strike a balance between youth and experience and draw the series in the third and final T20I against India in Pune on Friday, 10 January.
India v Sri Lanka, 3rd T20I
Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune
Friday, 10 January; 7 p.m. local time
One match abandoned, one won, India will be confident when they face Sri Lanka in Pune. They will be particularly happy with the performance of their bowlers in the second match, finding in Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur the back-up seam options for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup later this year. There is also Washington Sundar, who has time and again proved with his all-round skills his importance in this diverse Indian side.
If anything, the hosts have a problem of plenty and with such talent at their disposal, will be keen on making a statement by sweeping the series 2-0.
Sri Lanka need not despair, though. There is still a series to level and if they can do that, it will be a huge confidence booster for the young side. They will, however, be without the services of Isuru Udana, who injured himself during India’s chase in the second game while attempting to stop the ball at third man. Udana’s absence might be a chance for Kasun Rajitha or Lakshan Sandakan to claim a place in the playing XI.
While Captain Lasith Malinga wants to give youngsters a go as much as possible, a mix of young and experienced players might help the team grow. With that in mind, bringing in the veteran Angelo Mathews could be an option, to bolster a fragile middle order.
Remember the last time
Sri Lanka enjoyed a good start after being put in to bat by India in the second T20I with openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando and No.3 batsman Kusal Perara leading the charge. However, the Indian bowlers, who had leaked runs in the initial overs, clawed their way back admirably, bowling accurate lines through the rest of the innings. The last eight overs yielded only 58 runs and six wickets. India scaled the modest target of 143 in the 18th over with the top order taking on the Lankan bowlers with ease.
What they said
Shardul Thakur, bowler, India: “I feel T20 is such a short format that there are always going to be ups and downs. The more you play, the more experienced you get and you keep learning.”
Lasith Malinga, Captain, Sri Lanka: “We need to give opportunities to other players. We know how experienced he [Angelo Mathews] is. We need the young players also to get into a winning way.”
The weather is expected to be clear, with the day bright and sunny, and temperatures reaching a high of 29°C. Only two T20Is have been played at the venue before, with Sri Lanka winning the last one against India by five wickets in 2016.