India vs Sri Lanka: Second T20 Preview

Written by Jason Dewey for @HollywoodbetsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

India vs Sri Lanka | Friday 12 February | Ranchi - JSCA International Stadium | 15:45

Following a somewhat surprising defeat at the hands of a young Sri Lankan side in the first T20 International, India will be looking to bounce back with victory at the JSCA International Stadium on Friday morning.

Can the young Lions wrap up the T20 leg of the bi-lateral series or will a strong Indian side come out and exact revenge on their island neighbours?

To Win Match
India 32/100
Draw 35/1
Sri Lanka 5/2

I think it’s safe to say that India went into the first T20 expecting to steamroll a young Sri Lankan side missing a number of their international stalwarts. How wrong they were to underestimate the Islanders.

Having lost the toss and being asked to bat, the Indians were immediately put on the back foot by debutant seamer, Karsun Rajitha on a green deck. By the time he had completed his first senior international over, he'd only conceded two runs and accounted for the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Ajikya Rahane. It was only thanks to Suresh Raina (20) and Ravichandran Ashwin (31) that the hosts were able to post a mildly competitive 101 all out.

The top order failure won’t exactly thrill the Indian management ahead of the World T20. What will have impressed them, however, was the performance of their bowlers. Ashish Nehra, Ashwin and young Jasprit Bumrah were all impressive as they gave the Sri Lankans a bit of a freight in their chase as they claimed five wickets and kept the scoring rate below six to the over.

They were never going to be able to defend 101 barring a massive collapse from the Sri Lankans – and although the visitors lost two wickets in the first four overs, the middle order came to the party and saw them through at the end.

Looking ahead, I think it’s vital that the Indians give some of their fringe players a run ahead of the World T20. Yuvraj Singh, Pawan Negi and Harbhajan Singh have been with the squad for a while but haven’t exactly played that much cricket. You’d want every member of your playing squad to be match fit ahead of a massive ICC event like the World T20, as such, I wouldn’t rule out a change or two.

Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankans have Karsun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera and Dasun Shanaka to thank for their astounding five-wicket victory in the first T20 at Pune. The three put in magnificent performances on what was a surprisingly green deck, in which they accounted for seven of the 10 Indian wickets that fell on the day.

I was most impressed, however, with Rajitha – who perhaps wouldn’t have made his debut had it not been for the hamstring injury suffered by Binura Fernando. He would go on to claim figures of 3-29 – not a bad haul on debut against one of the best T20 outfits on the planet. Props also have to go to Shanaka who was brought into the team as a batting allrounder.  His industrious approach to bowling included varying his pace, line and length never allowed the Indians to settle.

One thing’s for sure, they won’t get the same sort of assistance out of the Ranchi deck as they got in Pune. There isn’t much data available on the JSCA International Sporting Complex wicket. In fact, there has only been one ODI played here previously, with India beating Sri Lanka by three wickets on that occasion in 2014.

The two Sri Lankan openers will have to be better with bat in hand in the second T20 if the Islanders are to wrap the series up on Friday. The last thing that Marvan Atapattu wants is for his shaky middle order to be exposed to the Indian bowlers too early in the innings. He’ll know all too well that the Indian spinners are some of the best in the world at restricting scoring when they’re on top.

Both Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilika will need to be on top of their game if they’re going to set or chase down a large total on Friday evening. Their relative inexperience could well prove to work in their favour – if they go out and play without fear as many youngsters do, the Indians could well be in for a surprise. One thing neither can afford to do, however, is get bogged down against one of the best Sub-Continent bowling attacks on the planet.

Verdict: India 32/100
There is absolutely no way that I can see India putting in a similar performance to the one at Pune. They have far too much experience and quality within their ranks to be troubled by this young Sri Lankan side. Back the Indians to bounce back following their surprise defeat in the first T20 at 32/100.

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