India v Sri Lanka, 2nd T20I, Ranchi February 11, 2016

Unheralded Sri Lanka look to trip up India again


Match facts

February 12, 2016
Start time 1930 local (1400 GMT)

Play 01:35
'We're game to play horses for courses' - Shastri

Big Picture

In the first match, India's batsmen seemed not to know much about the pitch in Pune. They also seemed not to know much about Sri Lanka's second-string seam attack. Actually, no one did. Why would they? After a year of modest performances, and with the frontliners all in the sick bay, these new guys were selection Hail Marys. For a change, someone up there answered the prayers of Sri Lanka's fan base.

The result suggested there was truth to what Sri Lanka's local coaches have been saying all along. The domestic structure is so sick it could be used as a pro-euthanasia poster case. The administration sometimes veers towards the ridiculous. But there is no shortage of talent in Sri Lanka, even if, judging by the size of some players, there could be a dearth of protein. Kasun Rajitha was sharp, and seamed it beautifully away. Dushmantha Chameera's pace is beginning to trouble batsmen all around the world. And if Dasun Shanaka's batting is anywhere near as good as the balls he sent to Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, he could be settling in for a long career.

India were left reeling, but they will most likely land on their feet in Ranchi, and find the track there is much more to their liking. Dhoni seemed unfazed by the loss, because in the fantasy land of limited-overs batting, the Pune pitch was an anomaly. The top order is still rocking - it hasn't been long since they were so good as to make the middle order obsolete. The spin attack also seems well drilled, and Ashish Nehra was effective with the new ball in Pune.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
India: LWWWL
Sri Lanka: WLLLW

In the spotlight

Sri Lanka did not like facing R Ashwin in the longest format last year, and now he is troubling them in T20s. On a night that belonged to the seam bowlers, Ashwin spun the ball sharply to take two wickets in Pune. A return to slower conditions will tip his offbreaks with a little more venom. Ashwin will understand a little of the weaknesses of the Sri Lanka top order, and will also know that as a group, they have not played spin well over the past year. Ashwin's 31 not out with the bat was not enough to cover for the top-order collapse, but on other days, such runs could be invaluable.

Like the man himself, Sri Lanka have seemed a bubbly, dynamic unit with Dinesh Chandimal at the helm. In the past, Chandimal's major worry has been his own batting. Chandimal's leadership was coming along, but that T20 international average continued to flounder. Even now, it is less than 15. There won't be many matches in which Chandimal can afford to soak up balls and play himself in, as he did on Tuesday, but if that innings can serve as a launching pad for the series, Sri Lanka may begin to consider him for more permanent leadership roles.

Teams news

India may opt to give left-arm spinning allrounder Pawan Negi a debut, and assess him ahead of the Asia Cup and World T20. Hardik Pandya, who managed only two runs in his first outing with the bat in addition to going wicketless, in Pune, is likely to miss out.

India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 MS Dhoni (capt.)(wk), 6 Yuvraj Singha, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Ashish Nehra

Tillakaratne Dilshan is available for selection again, following recovery from a hand injury. He will probably take the place of Niroshan Dickwella. With plenty of spin cover via Milinda Siriwardana and Dilshan's finger spin, Sri Lanka will likely look to give their quicks another run, regardless of the surface's nature.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Niroshan Dickwella, 2 Danushka Gunathilaka, 3 Dinesh Chandimal (capt.)(wk), 4 Chamara Kapugedara, 5 Dasun Shanaka 6 Milinda Siriwardana, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Seekkuge Prasanna, 9 Sachithra Senanayake, 10 Dushmantha Chameera, 11 Kasun Rajitha

Pitch and conditions

Ranchi has never hosted a T20 international, but two of the three ODIs played there have yielded moderately high totals. The track for the second match appears dry, and the weather is expected to remain good for the encounter, with temperatures in the low 20s.

Stats and trivia

  • In 15 T20s at the helm, Dinesh Chandimal averages 12 and has a strike rate of 90. His 35 on Tuesday was his highest score as captain.
  • India's home win-loss ratio is 0.625 - worse than all the full member teams apart from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
  • Sri Lanka have the highest away win-loss ratio, with 13 victories from 17 away games.


"[Pune did] A little too much but we should have adapted well. We should have got 140. That would have been a competitive score on the surface. What we have to learn is very early you have to make sure what the conditions are, what the pitch entails and what is a competitive score on that pitch is."
Ravi Shastri, India's team director, looks back at the first T20 international

"It's very important that people in Sri Lanka know that there are back-up players. When most of the seniors play in the last few years, we need back-up players [now]. It's good to see them do well."
Chamara Kapugedara on Sri Lanka's bench strength

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anver on February 14, 2016, 8:30 GMT

    @WEAREWORLDSBEST my dear mate a win is always a win, whether its an 'UPSET' win or something else. appreciate young SL team's hardwork & commitment who topple your so called "Worlds Best" team IND. I think last WCT20 final defeat stills hurts you. So don't get UPSET be cool and FYI there are few more UPSET wins to come in the upcoming T20WC !!

  • yatin on February 12, 2016, 13:52 GMT

    Ohh, man SL don't hv guts to bat first.... still betting on pitch condition...

  •   Anil Kumar on February 12, 2016, 13:10 GMT

    @ayesh.don i agree with you . and India is not ranked number one in test and t2o and second placed in ODI by mistake or by playing only at home or on same pitch .

    But in T20 anything can happen . Srilanka had nothing to loose and India had nothing to gain . This is a very bad situation to be in. Take an example of today match . If India looses , the whole world will be behind India , and If India wins , India won as Srilanka was a second string side .

    This is why India consistently do well in ICC trophy , in those match India has , everything to gain . Take an example , Before and after India's form in ODI in context of 2015 world cup , you will understand what i mean.

  • Indian on February 12, 2016, 12:48 GMT

    @SAJITHAD : I have been following your posts for a while you seriously seem to have a chip on your shoulders when it comes to India .Other fans write far more vicious things but i believe they are just doing harmless trolling looking to provoke and get people wind up but you my friend either take these silly juvenile banter too seriously or have a prejudiced mindset against India, you disregard dozen good things Indian fans say about SL on these forums but you only seem to concentrate on negative ones and instead of referring to them individually you form a collective opinion of all Indian fans. Indian and SL Cricketers/people/governments have always enjoyed friendly relations . So your angst ridden outbursts mean little in the bigger picture.

  • sunder on February 12, 2016, 12:42 GMT

    wow 150+ even before the start of the match....

  • Manoj on February 12, 2016, 12:42 GMT

    Congrat SL one of th thew best sides in Asia along with Pakistan. Can't see this Indian team wining against top teams like Aus, NZ and SA in World T20 with the way how they were humiliated against SL A team. Full strength SL team will rip this team apart

  • KISH on February 12, 2016, 12:37 GMT

    India should open with Rahane and Dhawan and get Rohit in later (5 or 6). That way, he gets a different role in T20's and it won't be too boring for him to open all the time. Also, Rahane will do will as an opener. My batting order will be like: Dhawan, Rahane, Yuvraj, Raina, Dhoni, Rohit, Pandya, Jadeja(or Negi), Ashwin, Nehra, Bhumrah.

  • jayaesh on February 12, 2016, 12:31 GMT

    Some Lankan fans need to realise that SL is in subcontinent, SL pitches are as flat as India some are rankturners just like India, you prepared one sporting pitch in P Sara Oval and one seaming pitch in SSC when Ind visited SL for three match test series last year and India beat you fair and square, so i fail to understand this whole brouhaha about India =flat pitches=flat track bullies while trying to project that you blokes (Pak,SL,BD) always have these fast bouncy,seaming wickets and your batters/bowlers specialize in mastering them and India can't. If this is all meant to be silly trolling then i don't mind but if you seriously believe in it then then you are either deluded or carrying out false propaganda.I like SL cricketers and SL people (have visited your beautiful country thrice and enjoyed the hospitality) but i can't say the same about some SL cricket fans here on Cricinfo.

  •   Raghu Panjala on February 12, 2016, 12:28 GMT

    Rahane,Pujara both are in Indian teams because of their ability to keep wicket and prevent the team from falling like nine pins. That technique might work in ODI and test but not in T20. Rahane is inconsistent in t20s. Sad that no Indian player has been successful keeping wicket in grassy pitches,esp Rahane. Then what is his purpose?

  • Madhusudhan on February 12, 2016, 12:20 GMT

    SL should bring in more debut player into its playing XI. Indians will be completely caught unprepared and clueless against debuting players.

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