Ind vs SL | India looks to solve the combination puzzle

Shikhar Dhawan (L) and K.L. Rahul. File

Shikhar Dhawan (L) and K.L. Rahul. File   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

India and Sri Lanka play the second T20 in Indore on Tuesday

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

However, the wait for answers will be short as the sides resume battle in the second T20I, at the Holkar Stadium here on Tuesday. For opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, the abandoned game at Guwahati robbed him of a chance to increase his stock.

Dhawan will be keen

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-overs series against the West Indies last month.

Rahul must have fond memories of this venue, where 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.

Manish’s role?

Manish Pandey, meanwhile, found himself relegated to the bench, yet again, at 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, especially after his recent run-scoring exploits for Karnataka in the Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare tournaments. Does the team management have Manish in their plans for the ICC T20 World Cup later this year?

Importance of Bumrah

There is, however, no doubting the importance of Jasprit Bumrah in the Indian set up. Guwahati missed the chance, giving Indore the first look at Bumrah’s much-anticipated return to action.

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 at Guwahati.

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 men have to be on point to challenge the Indians, who have dominated the head-to-head records in recent years.

The teams (from):

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

Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (Capt.), 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 and Kasun Rajitha.

On-field umpires: Anil Chaudhary and Chettithody Shamshuddin.

TV umpire: Nitin Menon. Reserve umpire: Virender Sharma

Match referee: David Boon

Match starts at 7 p.m.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 10:04:03 AM |

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