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Sri Lanka tour of India set to begin with T20Is; Bengaluru to host day-night Test

SLC requests BCCI to play the shorter format first, since SL's T20I squad will have just concluded a series in Australia

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
The Sri Lanka players are all ears as Shikhar Dhawan has a word with them, Sri Lanka vs India, 3rd T20I, Colombo, July 29, 2021

It is understood that SLC wanted to play the shorter format first, to allow a smoother bubble-to-bubble transfer of their T20I squad from Australia  •  AFP/Getty Images

India are set to play a day-night Test in Bengaluru against Sri Lanka, and will now also play the T20I leg of the tour first - a reversal of what had been originally scheduled.
The dates are still being tweaked, but the BCCI appears to have agreed to Sri Lanka Cricket's request to play the shorter format first, to allow a smoother bubble-to-bubble transfer of their T20I squad, who will have just concluded a series in Australia.
This tweak also mean Virat Kohli will not play his 100th Test in Bengaluru, a prospect that was on the cards after he finished the South Africa tour on 99 Tests. He had missed the second Test in Johannesburg due to back spasms.
The first Test will now be played in Mohali, with the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, which has now upgraded its flood lights, set to host the tour-ending pink-ball Test. Dharamsala is likely to open the tour with the first two T20Is before the teams proceed to Mohali for the final game.
With northern India still in the midst of winter, the board is reluctant to schedule the day-night Test in Mohali owing to fog and heavy dew. Another reason for the change as per a Karnataka State Cricket Association official is Bengaluru offers direct connectivity to Colombo, which would then allow Sri Lanka to fly home without a stopover.
Reluctant for long to host pink-ball Tests, the BCCI came onboard with the idea for the first time when they hosted Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in November 2019. In February last year, they hosted England in Ahmedabad for their second pink-ball Tests. India won both Tests inside three days.
With inputs from Andrew Fidel Fernando

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo