Time: July 20, 3 PM IST
Venue: R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
No pacer could take a wicket in the powerplay, and of the 12 wickets that fell, 9 belonged to the spinners. There was nothing on offer for the pacers on Sunday, but there was more than enough for the spinners to trap the batters. The pitch is likely to roughen up as the series progresses.
Probable XI for Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Isuru Udana, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan
Probable XI for India: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan (wk), Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
Players to watch out for
With Prithvi Shaw going all guns blazing at the other end, Shikhar Dhawan did not have to put extra efforts to score runs. He rather played second fiddle, making sure he bats as long as possible. Eventually, he took his team home and remained unbeaten on 86.
We all had anticipated what Shaw is going to do in the series. It didn’t matter to him where the Sri Lankans bowled: he smashed everything that came his way. However, had he not lost his focus after getting hit on the helmet, he might as well have scored much more than 43 off 24.
Ishan Kishan revealed that he had told his teammates that he’d open his account with a six. Getting pitted against a spinner right away made his challenge less difficult. A six downtown, followed by an off-drive, Kishan made his intentions clear, although he was lucky on a few occasions. The result was a powerful 59 off 42 on his birthday.
Sri Lanka’s top six batters had a good start to their innings. Of them, Bhanuka Rajapaksa played the least number of balls (22) but he managed 24 runs including two massive sixes off Yuzvendra Chahal. They had two 49-run partnerships between Minod Bhanuka and Avishka Fernando, and Dhananjaya de Silva and Charith Asalanka. To put things perspective, Sri Lanka played false strokes despite being ahead in the game at times. On a track that demanded 350 runs, they could collect a mere 262.
Kulcha are back and how. Chahal got a wicket off the very first delivery, Kuldeep Yadav followed suit, and they took 4 scalps between them.
If Sri Lanka plan to bat first on this wicket, they will have to score way more runs than 262. And if they bowl first, they will have to punch well above their weight to restrict India below 300. Either way, the Indian batters will make them suffer if they don’t bowl in the right areas.
Perhaps, Sri Lanka could start the innings with a spinner. Dhananjaya de Silva’s tossed-up delivery threw Shaw off focus, and Kishan played a few mindless shots against the spinners. If Sri Lanka could get two wickets in the powerplay, India might as well go on the backfoot.