Sri Lanka v India: Only T20 Preview

Sri Lanka will look to gain the slightest consolation when they host India in a one-off T20 International in Colombo this Wednesday, 6 September. 

Shambolic and whitewashed in the preceding ODI series against the same opposition, Sri Lanka have the opportunity to find a semblance of consolation.

The Indians have never lost a Twenty20 International in Sri Lanka and, judging their ODI form, are not going to have a formidable winning streak ended.

Sri Lanka v India | Wednesday, 6 September | R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo | 15:30

To Win Match
Sri Lanka 5/2 | Tie 35/1 | India 1/3

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Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's last T20I was all of four months ago, when they were outgunned by an inspired Bangladeshi unit and had to settle for a drawn two-match series. Their limited-overs fortunes, since, have amounted to an early Champions Trophy exit, series defeat to Zimbabwe - and absolute inadequacy against India. This, certainly, does not bode well for Wednesday.

Their T20I squad is not much different from their ODI unit - and veritable specialists short-format Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera are going to have to put in big performances to carry the potential pitfalls of some vastly inexperienced personnel. The lone T20I will be played at the same venue as last week's final two ODIs, so insight gained then will need to materialise this week.

Sri Lanka have not beaten India in the shortest format of the international game in their last three attempts. When they did, consecutively, in April 2014 and February 2016, opting to field first and chase a couple of modest targets was key. The same is key this time, against opposition who are nominally averse to bowling second.

The first of the aforementioned victories was, of course, in the World Twenty20 final in Dhaka. Sri Lanka have since lost Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillkaratne Dilshan, but Perera, Malinga - and Lahiru Thirimanne - remain. One suspects the latter will be a late edition to the T20I squad, after acting as injury cover in the ODIs.

Similar to like Sri Lanka, India haven't played much Twenty20 cricket over the past three months. Their ODI endeavours, however, were punctuated by a one-off T20I against the West Indies in early July. It ended in heavy defeat, with the bulk of the bowling attack put to the sword by centurion Evin Lewis. Only the metronomic Bhuvneshwar Kumar was spared - and demands capable support two months later.

India have triumphed over Sri Lanka six times in 10 attempts in T20I competition - and currently occupy fifth position to the islanders' eighth in the International Cricket Council's T20 rankings. On the face of it, they should comfortably beat Malinga and company at a venue that has only afforded the hosts two wins in 13 T20 matches.

The visitors, however, will probably be without the talismanic Shikhar Dhawan. He has returned home to be with his ailing mother - and won't likely return for Wednesday's showdown. Allowing Ajinkya Rahane to open the batting alongside Rohit Sharma or deploying Kohli as an opener, then, seems the logical choice.

Jasprit Bumrah was rested for the series againt the West Indies, but returned with a remarkable 15 wickets in the five ODIs against Sri Lanka - and will welcome the chance to continue this rich stretch of form in the shorter format. The 23-year-old is very much the face of India's pace bowling future - and Sri Lanka will be hard pressed to successfully combat his characteristically pinpoint yorkers.

Verdict: India 1/3
India's momentum won't be jolted by a change of format - and the forecast absence of Dhawan. A fourth consecutive T20I victory - and seventh overall - against Sri Lanka is most highly likely.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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