India bossed Sri Lanka in the just concluded five-match ODI series and are again favorites for a one-off Twenty20 international in Pallekele on Tuesday. At the start of the season Sri Lanka were a chance to challenging India in the series, having recently beaten Pakistan at home, but after losing the ODI series three matches in a row, this is the last opportunity to do something successful before next month’s ICC World Twenty20 at home.
Sri Lanka’s squad is the same as their ODI outfit, and so is likely to mirror itself from the last match. Mahela Jayawardene, who sat out the last ODI, should return and perhaps even open the innings as he has done so many times in Twenty20 cricket. Upul Tharanga should move out of the XI considering he doesn’t have a strong Twenty20 record for Sri Lanka, and the tall offspinner Sachitra Senanayake could keep his place ahead of left-arm tweaker Rangana Herath who too is not a regular in the team’s Twenty20 plans. Nuwan Pradeep is also in line for a debut in this format after impressing in the last two ODIs with pace and swing movement. Sri Lanka’s players will also be keen to do well in this one-off match considering the inaugural Sri Lanka Premiere League starts August 11.
For India, another win would be a nice way to complete another successful tour of the country. Each player in the squad has played at least one match in the ODI series, and so they aren’t expected to tinker much with their line-up for this one-off match, their last on Sri Lankan soil before the World Twenty20 in September. Rohit Sharma didn’t have any fun in the ODIs but considering the way the management has unflinchingly backed him despite averaging 2.60, it is likely he will bat in the middle order. Manoj Tiwary has to hold his place after scoring 86 runs in two innings and picking up four wickets with his part-time leg spin.
The only doubt is whether Virender Sehwag will have recovered from the stiffness that kept him out of the final ODI. Should he not be fit, his place at the top will go to Ajinkya Rahane who was one of the highest run-getters in the IPL. India’s bowling should be identical to the last few ODIs, with the small chance that Umesh Yadav comes in for Zaheer Khan.
Sri Lanka:1 Mahela Jayawardene, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 4 Lahiru Thirimanne, 5 Chamara Kapugedera, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10, Sachitra Senananayeke,11 Nuwan Pradeep
India: 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Ajinkya Rahane/Virender Sehwag, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Manoj Tiwary, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 MS Dhoni (capt/wk), 8 Irfan Pathan, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Ashok Dinda.