The world number two ranking clinched following a dominating 4-1 triumph in ODIs, India will now look to stamp their authority against Sri Lanka in the only Twenty20 international here tomorrow.
India's domination was reflected in the margin of victory and they would look to carry their rampaging form to the shortest version of cricket as well. Sri Lanka and India have played only four T20s since 2009, with both teams winning two each and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will look to gain an upperhand tomorrow. The match also holds prominence considering the fact that the T20 World Cup is round the corners and it would be hosted by Sri Lanka from September 18.
The Indian team had a smooth comeback to international cricket after a rather long break. Their batters fared well and so did the bowlers. Even all-rounders like Irfan Pathan performed satisfactorily, prompting coach Duncan Fletcher to say that he would soon command a regular place in the ODI team.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, had nothing to show beside the only victory in the second ODI in the five-match series and the hosts will now pin hopes on their young guns in the T20 international tomorrow. Sri Lanka's problems were many. Losing Kumar Sangakkara through injury and having to contend with a below par Lasith Malinga and a Mahela Jayawardene reluctant to take more responsibility up the order. The silver lining, however, in the dark clouds was the unexpected gutsy performances of some of the lesser known names such as the left-handed Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeewan Mendis, not so young in terms of age.
"Very encouraging to see guys like Thirimanne and Mendis joining the show. We always depend on the likes of Sangakkaras, Jayawardenes and Dilshans to win games for us. We saw the guts Thirimanne and Mendis had. They almost pulled it through," Acting captain Angelo Mathews had said after the final ODI here.
Among the seniors, Tillakaratne Dilshan has failed to fire in the ODI series. A solitary 50 was what he managed and there were a couple of single digit scores underlining Sri Lanka's woeful batting.
Jayawardene, who should return tomorrow after rather inexplicably opting to stay out of the final ODI, himself made only one 50 plus score in the ODIs. Chandimal who was pushed up the order to take charge was also not able to turn things around.
Sri Lanka's bowling worries are even more acute than their batting. No bowler was able to make the desired impact on the Indian batsmen. Thisara Perera showed only a glimpse of the form he showed against the Pakistanis. With not so happy resources at command, it would be a big ask for the Sri Lankans to try and stop the Indians running away with T20 win to cap off an excellent tour of the island.
The Squads (from):
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Virat Kohli (vc), Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ashok Dinda, Irfan Pathan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (c), Angelo Mathews (vc), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thisara Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Malinga, Chamara Kapugedara, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake, Jeevan Mendis, Isuru Udana.
Match starts at 19:00 IST.
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