India’s domination was reflected in the margin of victory and they would look to carry their rampaging form to the shortest version of cricket as well.
Sri Lanka and India have played only four T20s since 2009, with both teams winning two each and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men will look to gain an upperhand.
The match also holds prominence considering the fact that the T20 World Cup is round the corners and it would be hosted by Sri Lanka from September 18.
The Indian team had a smooth comeback to international cricket after a rather long break. Their batters fared well and so did the bowlers.
Even allrounders such as Irfan Pathan performed satisfactorily, prompting coach Duncan Fletcher to say that he would soon command a regular place in the ODI team.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, had nothing to show beside the only victory in the second ODI in the five-match series and the hosts will now pin hopes on their young guns in the T20 international.
Sri Lanka’s problems were many. Losing Kumar Sangakkara through injury and having to contend with a below par Lasith Malinga and a Mahela Jayawardene reluctant to take more responsibility up the order.
The silver lining, however, in the dark clouds was the unexpected gutsy performances of some of the lesser known names such as the left-handed Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeewan Mendis, not so young in terms of age.
“Very encouraging to see guys like Thirimanne and Mendis joining the show. We always depend on the likes of Sangakkaras, Jayawardenes and Dilshans to win games for us. We saw the guts Thirimanne and Mendis had. They almost pulled it through,” Acting captain Angelo Mathews had said after the final ODI.
Among the seniors, Tillakaratne Dilshan has failed to fire in the ODI series. A solitary 50 was what he managed and there were a couple of single digit scores underlining Sri Lanka’s woeful batting.
Jayawardene, who should return after rather inexplicably opting to stay out of the final ODI, himself made only one 50 plus score in the ODIs. Chandimal who was pushed up the order to take charge was also not able to turn things around.
Sri Lanka’s bowling worries are even more acute than their batting. No bowler was able to make the desired impact on the Indian batsmen. Thisara Perera showed only a glimpse of the form he showed against the Pakistanis.
With not so happy resources at command, it would be a big ask for the Sri Lankans to try and stop the Indians running away with T20 win to cap off an excellent tour of the island.
India (probable): Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni (wk&c), Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Irfan Pathan
Sri Lanka (probable): Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene (c), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Jeevan Mendis, Isuru Udana
Time: 19:00 local (19:00 IST)