As the Indian home summer continues, the return of bowling talisman Jasprit Bumrah will hog all the headlines before the T20I series against Sri Lanka which begins at Guwahati on Sunday.
Although it is the regular foes that are meeting, both teams are coming with different perspectives. India are looking at the top of their game after finishing 2019 on a high, while Sri Lanka are easing into the life under new coach Mickey Arthur.
The hosts have made a sea of changes to accommodate the hectic schedule. Rohit Sharma gets a break and Shikhar Dhawan comes back after the injury. However, it is the much-anticipated return of Bumrah that puts the focus on Indian unit, as he lines up to play his first competitive match since last September.
Virat Kohli’s runs will be all the more crucial now, as will be the form and performances of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. It will be interesting to see how the all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Shivam Dube lap up the opportunity.
After a mixed bag in the tour to Pakistan, Sri Lanka return to their favourite format. The young side that has blanked Pakistan has supplied some exciting names like Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dasun Shanaka to this touring party.
The return of former captain Angelo Mathews gives options to captain Lasith Malinga, who will hope that his well-balanced side can take their chances. Isuru Udana and Lahiru Kumara will lead the bowling unit together with Malinga, although their spin unit looks a tad low. That said, the exciting leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga is going to be a handful.
India have rested their ‘Sri Lanka specialist’ Sharma, but still boast of a strong batting unit. With the emergence of Iyer, their middle-order is also looking strong enough to continue their surge. All eyes will be on Bumrah with the ball, although the likes of Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur will look to impress. Sri Lanka have been very impressive in this format and will be fancying their chances. Considering most of the squad members have been together for a while, Malinga and co. will feel they can upset the odds here.
History & Statistics
- India have won four of their last five home T20Is and 12 of their last 17 completed home T20Is.
- India have won eight of their last 11 completed T20Is.
- The chasing team has won 10 of the last 13 completed T20Is involving India.
- Sri Lanka have lost six of their eight H2H T20Is in India, including the last five.
- Sri Lanka have lost their last three away T20Is.
The return of Bumrah hogs the limelight, but what about KL Rahul? He will be under pressure to make the opening slot his own. Scores of 62, 11, 91, 6, 102 and 77 in the six white-ball matches against West Indies should hold him in good stead.
Wanindu Hasaranga has one of the best googlies going around, and is fresh off back-to-back three-fors against Pakistan in the recent T20I series. Can he trouble the Indians?