India vs Sri Lanka: Indore ready for Dhawan, Bumrah comeback

Shikhar Dhawan, whose spot could be under threat once Rohit Sharma returns well rested, will be desperate to stake his claim with a big knock.

India skipper Virat Kohli with the T20I trophy in Guwahati on Sunday.   -  PTI


The first T20I between India and Sri Lanka in Guwahati was poised to throw light on India’s team combination puzzle, but heavy rain ensured that clarity was not readily provided.

The wait for answers will be short, however, as the sides resume battle in the second T20I at the Holkar Stadium here on Tuesday. For opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, the abandoned game robbed him of a chance to increase his stock. Dhawan, whose spot could be under threat once Rohit Sharma returns well rested, will be desperate to stake his claim with a big knock.

His partner K.L. Rahul is ahead in the race, having struck three fifties and a century in the limited-over series against West Indies last month. Rahul must have fond memories of this venue, for he smashed a 49-ball 89 in the first-ever T20I held here, in December 2017. On the day, Rahul and Rohit racked up a 165-run opening stand to put the Sri Lankans to the sword.

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Manish Pandey, meanwhile, found himself relegated to the bench, yet again, in Guwahati. The versatile middle-order batsman was part of the squad in the previous two bilateral T20I series (versus Bangladesh and West Indies), but made just one appearance in the playing eleven. It is not as if there is a settled batting line-up in place, with the likes of Shivam Dube, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant given chances up the order to support skipper Virat Kohli. Manish must consider himself unlucky, specially after his recent run-scoring exploits for Karnataka in the Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare tournaments.

There is no doubt about the importance of Jasprit Bumrah in the Indian set up. The pace sensation is expected to be at full tilt, after a frustrating four month layoff owing to a back stress fracture.

The Sri Lankans have a returning star as well in Angelo Mathews, though his welcome was not quite as affectionate. Mathews, who last played a T20I in August 2018, was left out of the eleven in Guwahati.

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On the eve of the series, captain Lasith Malinga had described Mathews as the team’s ‘finisher’, but it was another all-rounder Dasun Shanaka who got the nod. Malinga and his mates have to be on point to challenge the Indians, who have dominated the head-to-head records in recent years.

The squads

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Manish Pandey, Washington Sundar, Sanju Samson.

Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Isuru Udana, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Kusal Mendis, Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha.

Match starts at 7 p.m.

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