Sri Lanka will conclude their short but sweet tour of India on Friday when they take on the powerhouse side in the third and final T20 match of the series. After a washout in the opening game, it is India who go into it holding all the aces.
That is because they were pretty simple winners of the second T20 and they know that another win here will send them into the upcoming matches with Australia in fine shape. Sri Lanka have more cricket on the horizon too so a win here will be useful for them, not just to share the series.
I would imagine India will be pretty happy with their performance in the last match. There are things to work on but when there is a big series on the horizon, it can be easy for the minds to slip towards that, so they deserve credit for focusing on the job at hand. They will know that while they weren’t perfect last time out, a repeat of that display is likely to be enough to get the job done against a side who are undergoing a bit of a transition period.
The thing that has been really impressive for India in this format in recent times has been their bowling, and what is important is that they are getting a number of seam options blooded and engrained with their plans. That will be invaluable when it comes to the World T20 down under later in the year as seam is going to be a big part of that tournament. They have a good mix of seamers which eases the pressure on their batsmen.
There were signs of positive things in the last game for Sri Lanka but ultimately they need complete performances between now and the World T20 if they are going to make a dart for that competition. Right now, even if they don’t win matches, competing for the full 40 overs will be something that they can build on. They were in a decent enough position with the bat in the opening game, but they were unable to go on with that which was disappointing.
They are clearly trying to build a pool of players to use in the future, and there is nothing wrong with that, and indeed a few of those players offered signs of being useful. They now need some experience in and around that to turn these cameo spells into sustained performances which give them the chance of winning matches. Another bowling option or two wouldn’t go amiss but they are restricted to what they have taken to India with them here.
India have no need to make team changes but with three ODIs coming up against Australia soon it might be that they rotate their bowlers to keep them fresh. Yuzvendra Chahal is one who could come in if that is the case.
Sri Lanka will be forced into a change as Isuru Udana is injured and will miss this outing. Angelo Mathews is expected to replace him which is no bad thing as he’ll offer experience deep into the innings and is a handy option with the new ball.
I’m expecting much of the same we saw in the previous game here. Sri Lanka will offer periods where they look but ultimately India are likely to be too strong for them. In saying that, you have to respect a side that has Lasith Malinga in it as he can still do some major damage. The big question for Sri Lanka is can they do anything of note against this Indian bowling attack, and I’m not so sure they can.
That makes me think that the sixes line could be a little on the high side at 12.5. We only saw six sixes in the previous match in Indore, which is known for being a small ground where the boundaries are accessible. This one in Pune is not so short. India didn’t look like they were going to get stuck into the Sri Lanka bowling anytime soon in the first game while Sri Lanka looked a little out of their depth against the seam in particular. I’m not sure we’re going from six sixes in the last game to more than 12.5 of them here. I’ll play the under.
Back Under 12.5 sixes for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Betway