With an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match T20I series, Team India will be looking to try out the bench strength without compromising on the intensity, as they eye a complete whitewash against Sri Lanka in the third and final T20I here on Sunday.
For the Islanders, it has been a forgetful year, and the two recent defeats against India have just insult to the injury. While the hosts thrashed Sri Lanka by 93 runs in the first T20I at Cuttack, they outclassed them by 88 runs in Indore to seal the series. The visitors also lost the ODIs 1-2 and drew a blank in the Test series held earlier.
On the other hand, there is no looking back for India across all formats and would surely look to end a successful year with another win ahead of a tough tour of South Africa where they play three Tests, six ODIs and three T20s.
Despite the fact that the consistent one-sides games didn’t give an ideal preparation for men in blue for the SA tour, but the positive thing is that in absence of seniors including inspirational skipper Virat Kohli, the youngsters have taken responsibility and delivered in the limited overs series.
Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma, who equalled David Miller’s record of the quickest ever T20I century during his 43 -ball 118-run innings in Indore, is in his prime form and he would love to continue his good run at his home ground.
Be it K L Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey or the veteran MS Dhoni, all have produced some brilliant contribution when needed and coach Ravi Shastri would expect them to fire big time on Sunday.
Especially Rahul, who already has two half-centuries in the ongoing series, would surely want to add one more under his belt and make a strong statement before the team’s upcoming tour. Iyer, the Mumbaikar, scored in the opening game, but he needs to stay at the wicket and convert his starts to big knocks.
India has promoted Dhoni at no.3 on Friday and he justified the team’s decision by scoring at a brisk pace. The same can be expected in Mumbai if the openers give a flying start.
The current Indian Indian batting line up has the capability of destroying any bowling attack even on a slightly batting friendly track. However, the credit for preparing good bench strength should be given to the IPL and the sturdy domestic circuit.
Wrist spin-duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav has cemented their place by picking up regular wickets that too at crucial intervals since their international debuts. The selectors would be seeing how Saurashtra pacer Jaydev Unadkat performs, as he can play a crucial role after veteran pacer Ashish Nehra called it a day. But having won the series, the team management may decide to play some young guns like Basil Thampi, Washington Sundar and Deepak Hooda in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka have been dealt a severe blow with Angelo Mathews being ruled out of the match due to a hamstring injury. In his absence, senior pros like Upul Tharanga will have to take responsibility and deliver. Kusal Perera’s 37-ball 77 in the second T20I gave a huge boost to the team and he would look for another good innings.
Overall the Wankhede wicket has always been a batsman’s paradise in the past as scores as high as 190 have been chased in T20 games here. Considering the form of Indian batsmen spectators can see another run-feast.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey/Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav/Washington Sundar, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah/Basil Thampi.
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Danushka Gunathilaka/Dasun Shanaka, Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera, Chaturanga de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep.