After being thrashed at the hands of India in the first two T20s, it will be all about honour for Sri Lanka as they take the field on Sunday. Having conceded the second highest T20I total of 260 in the previous match, it will demand some character from Sri Lanka to bounce back.
Sri Lanka down and out
The series has been a disaster for Sri Lanka’s new captain Thisara Perera as his boys have not even been able to give the opposition a fight, let alone winning. The absence of Angelo Mathews due to injury would be a further setback for the Lankans.
They can take some heart from the fact they at least put up a fight in the last match. It was very easy for a team already down on confidence to just surrender to a mammoth total like 260 and get bundled out for a two-digit score.
But Sri Lanka at least made an attempt to win the game. They looked to play their shots against the Indian spinners rather that just getting out while trying to play them out. Valiant knocks from Kusal Perera (77) and Upul Tharanga (47) saw Sri Lanka get off to a flying start. But the Lankan middle order failed them yet again as they eventually fell well short, being bowled out for 172.
A dream run for India
On the other hand, it look as if India cannot place a foot wrong at this moment. Rohit Sharma is going through a purple patch both as batsman and as captain. He seamlessly took the reins of the team from Kohli and lead India to a series win in the ODIs.
He himself has been in the form of his life, scoring his 3rd double century in the ODIs followed by his 2nd T20I ton. KL Rahul has grabbed his opportunities with both hands piling up half centuries in the first two matches.
India spin duo of Chahal and Kuldeep has delivered the goods in both the matches. The Lankans have struggled to pick up their variations and conceded their wickets as a result.
Now as India already has the series under their kitty, it’s time to try out some young talent. With the likes of Washington Sundar, Mohammad Siraj, Deepak Hooda and Basil Thampi warming the benches, this is an opportunity to give them some game time.
However, in recent times there has been a tendency of not giving away anything to the opposition. Therefore, India is not expected to go bonkers in terms of changes to the side.
Deepak Hooda deserves a game and can be tried in place of Hardik Pandya for the all-rounder slot. Either of Basil Thampi or Mohammad can be tried in place of Jasprit Bumrah who can be given rest before the long South Africa tour.
Thampi has an upper hand in this regard as he is famous for his control over yorkers, especially in the death overs. His nippy yorkers and well disguised slower ones were characteristic of his stint with the Gujarat Lions in this year’s IPL.
Mohammad Siraj, on the other hand had a forgettable T20I debut against New Zealand in Rajkot earlier this year. Siraj went for 53 runs in his 4 overs with an economy rate of 13.25 and was dropped from the team for the 3rd T20. He has a distant chance of getting a game in place of Dinesh Karthik if India looks to go in with six bowlers.
The other pacer Jaydev Unadkat has done his chances no harm in the first two T20s. The Gujarat medium-pacer has bowled economically picking up a wicket each in both the matches. He is expected to retain his place in the side.
Sri Lanka will have to make a forced change as senior pro Mathews will miss out due to his hamstring injury that resurfaced in the 2nd T20I. Dasun Shanaka will probably fit in the role of an all-rounder in his place.
As it is the peak of the winters, dew will be a factor in Mumbai. The side winning the toss would certainly like to field first. If Sri Lanka full up their socks at the Wankhede Stadium, a Super Sunday awaits the spectators.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, MS Dhoni (wk), Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya/ Deepak Hooda, Kuldeep Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Basil Thampi.
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka, Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera, Chaturanga de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep.