Eye on World T20 in solitary fixture
Match factsTuesday, August 7
Start time 1900 (1330 GMT)
This solitary Twenty20 fixture at Pallekele, along with India's two T20s against New Zealand later this month and the Sri Lanka Premier League, offers welcome preparations for teams and players ahead of the World T20 in Sri Lanka in September. This will be India's last T20 before the final squad for the World T20 is announced (the deadline is August 18); some of Sri Lanka's players will have the benefit of playing the SLPL before their squad is named.
India have played just one Twenty20 international in Sri Lanka, in 2009, which they won. The teams have played T20s against each other on four occasions; their last game was more than two years ago. After three losses in a row this trip, Sri Lanka have one final shot at consolation. After a rainless ODI series, there was a steady shower on the eve of this game.
The structure of the series has, however, raised question marks. According to the Future Tours Programme, this tour was meant to include three Tests and no ODIs. The teams then decided to play five ODIs and just one T20; the SLC said the teams wanted to focus on limited-overs cricket. Which begs the question: Why not play more T20 internationals instead of five ODIs, a month ahead of the World T20?
India: LWLLL (completed games, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: LWLWW
Watch out for...Manoj Tiwary: He seems to have done enough to have the clear edge over Rohit Sharma in India's limited-overs plans, having made 21 and 65 in the two ODIs he's played on this tour. He ran well between wickets, was especially strong through the leg side and scored at a healthy pace. He was below par in the IPL, averaging 26 and finishing as the fourth-highest run-getter for the Kolkata Knight Riders, but he hit the winning runs that sealed the title in a tight chase.
Dinesh Chandimal: He had a disappointing ODI series with the bat, managing just 55 runs in five games when much was expected from him in the middle order. He was part of the World T20 squad in 2010; will he make the cut again?
Team newsVirender Sehwag missed the final ODI due to a glute problem and has returned to India. Zaheer Khan has also headed back, to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
India (possible): 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Manoj Tiwary, 5 Rohit Sharma, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Irfan Pathan, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Ashok Dinda, 11 Umesh Yadav.
In place of the injured Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka have included seamer Shaminda Eranga in the T20 squad.
Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Lahiru Thirimanne, 4 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Chamara Kapugedera, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Sachitra Senanayake, 10 Shaminda Eranga/ Nuwan Pradeep, 11 Lasith Malinga.
Stats and trivia
- Mahela Jayawardene is 45 short of reaching 1000 runs in T20 internationals.
- Among Test teams other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, India have played the least T20 internationals - 34. Pakistan have played 55, leading the list. Sri Lanka have played 40.
"Basically whenever I think about all these things like, not playing, not getting an opportunity despite scoring a hundred I just analyze myself [and] as the days pass by you tend to improve mentally."
"It is significant to identify some of the roles for some of the players. We did that against Pakistan as well. We had to try out different combinations in the two T20s. We will try and do the same here."
Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo