IND vs SL: Chahal, Yadav eye another Lankan downfall

Despite the conditions continuing to be adverse for them, the duo will be hoping to play a stellar role and help India seal the series in the second T20I at the Holkar Stadium on Friday.

Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have excelled in the white-ball game for India this year.   -  Vivek Bendre

When R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were omitted from the limited overs' leg of India's tour to Sri Lanka in August-September, many believed the selectors' official line of the seasoned duo having been “rested”. Some thought of it as a deliberate ploy to blood in two talented wrist-spinners in place of the senior duo who was on a decline with white ball.

Cut to the end of the year and Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have emerged as India's first two choices in spin department in white-ball cricket. The leggie from Haryana and his chinaman younger friend from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh continued their wicket-taking prowess in the first of the three Twenty20s against Sri Lanka.

And despite the conditions continuing to be adverse for them, the duo will be hoping to play a stellar role in the street food capital of India and help the home team seize the series at the Holkar Stadium on Friday.

With the winter having set in, just like it did at the Barabati on Wednesday, the dew is likely to have a major impact on Friday night. Curator Samandar Singh Chauhan and his team have been spraying the anti-dew spray all over the outfield for the last couple of days but that will have little impact if the mercury dips in single-digit on Friday night.

Did You Know?

  • India has now won five T20I games in a row against Sri Lanka; only against Australia (seven straight from 2013 to 2017) has it won more games in succession.
  • Sri Lanka has now lost its last five T20Is away from home, never before has it lost more in succession on the road.

 

Besides, the Holkar Stadium has one of the shortest boundaries with a 69-yard fence.

But Chahal and Yadav would be hoping to repeat their performance against Australia in an ODI in September. Aaron Finch and Steven Smith were running away with the game, making optimum use of short boundaries. But Yadav dismissed both of them against the run of play and Chahal then bamboozled ferrocious Glenn Maxwell to put India right on top of the game.

It is this wicket-taking ability of Chahal and Yadav that has stood them apart from Ashwin and Jadeja. For months before being eventually dropped, Ashwin and Jadeja seemed to have gotten into run-saving mode rather than going for wickets. Once he took over the reins of the limited overs' teams from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli preferred wicket-taking bowlers, which worked like a boon for Chahal and Yadav.

Stadium Tidbit

This will be the first T20 International played at Holkar Stadium, though India has won all six of their previous internationals there across all formats (5 ODIs, 1 Test).

 

To their credit, Chahal and Yadav have utilised virtually every opportunity offered to them. Despite featuring in virtually all of India's white-ball matches in the home season, diminutive Chahal has not shied away from teasing batsmen into going after him. It has resulted in him inflating his wicket-count. In fact, he is sitting atop the list of highest wicket-takers in T20Is in 2017 after his four-wicket haul in Cuttack.

Yadav, on the other hand, has been used sparingly, perhaps indicating the team management's wish to not get exposed his rare ability of left-arm wrist-spin before the bigger challenges lying ahead.

The duo's success has virtually ensured that the selectors could well be forced to consider Ashwin and Jadeja only as red-ball specialists, at least till the 2019 World Cup in England and the 2020 World Twenty20 in Australia. For now, Chahal and Yadav would be hoping to plot a second Sri Lanka downfall in three nights.

The teams (from):
 
India: Rohit Sharma (Capt.), K.L. Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, M.S. Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, Basil Thampi and Jaydev Unadkat.
 
Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (Capt.), Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella, Asela Gunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Dananjaya de Silva, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando and Dusmantha Chameera.
Match starts at 7 p.m.