India just completed their 8th consecutive ODI series win after they seal the 3 match ODI series against Sri Lanka on Sunday. Their attention will now turn to the 3 match T20 series and the Indians will want a whitewash to complete a magnificent year in all formats of the game.
T20 Series – India Favourites
The first T20 will take place at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on December 20. India go in once again as the favourites as they will field a full strength team with only Virat Kohli missing out as he just got married.
Sri Lanka on the other hand are still searching to find a winning combination. They have made a number of changes to their T20 line-up and only 6 members who played against Pakistan in October have retained their places. The selectors decided to ‘rest’ the experienced Lasith Malinga but it is more likely because Malinga’s bowling has deteriorated during the last 24 months.
S Lakmal who was one of the top performers for Sri Lanka during this tour has also been rested. The Lankans are putting their faith in a bunch of new young players, hoping to find the next M Jayawardene and K Sangakkara.
Indian Batting and Bowling Too Powerful
Sri Lanka have struggled because India has fired in all departments. Captain Kohli was outstanding in the test matches and his absence has not been felt in the ODI format. R Sharma and S Dhawan have been in great form and young SS Ivey has also played a couple of good knocks to help India seal the series.
India’s lower order is yet to be tested and once again MS Dhoni’s position in the T20 format will be under the scanner. Dhoni has struggled with his strike rate in T20 cricket and former players have asked him to step aside. However in the absence of Kohli, Dhoni’s experience down the order will be invaluable.
The Sri Lankans have also found it difficult to score off the Indian bowlers. B Kumar and J Bumrah have been good with both the new and old ball. The two spinners Y Chahal and K Yadav have bowled very well in the middle and have also taken wickets regularly.
Sri Lanka will have to come up with a different game plan and their senior players will have to put up their hand or else a 3-0 whitewash will be on the cards.