The Indian cricket team beat Sri Lanka convincingly by a 2-0 margin in the three-match India vs Sri Lanka T20I Series. The Virat Kohli-led side were too strong for the Lankans, who were a step below in every department.
With the ICC World T20 to be held this year in Australia, India will be happy with the progress they are making in the shortest format.
Since the conclusion of the ICC World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, Team India has gone unbeaten in five T20I series. Notably, they have won four of these series to show a statement of intent.
After the first T20I was abandoned due to rain, the Men in Blue won the next two matches by seven wickets and 78 runs respectively.
The major positive for Team India was the composed nature of the top order. That will be the order of the day during the upcoming T20Is against New Zealand and also the ICC T20 World Cup.
The bowling was a notch better. The crop of players attacked the Lankans and showed promise and hunger.
One should remember that two of the pacers in the form of Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur had only come in as replacements earlier in the ODIs against West Indies. They were the biggest gainers. The return of Jasprit Bumrah helped India set the tone.
In spin department, Washington Sundar was a major plus. India rotated their wrist-spinners and didn’t play Ravindra Jadeja at all. With the bat, Manish Pandey showed that he can always be trusted when called upon. That’s a cushion on the bench.
For Lanka, the side needs to get back to the drawing room once again. After a sorry performance against Australia, the Lankans were similar here against India as well.
With the ICC World T2o in focus, Kohli’s men will feel that the build-up is going on a positive note. In this article, we look at the five major takeaways from the India versus Sri Lanka T20I series.
India has a positive headache upfront with the bat
Who will you back as India’s opening option in the upcoming ODIs against Australia, the five-match T20I series against New Zealand away from home and then the ICC World T20? With Rohit Sharma rested for the Lanka T20Is, the chance for Shikhar Dhawan was a big one. He needed to get some runs under his belt after an injury lay-off.
And the southpaw did reasonably well to bolster his confidence. Dhawan scored 35 and 52 in the two T20Is. Notably, he amassed partnerships worth 71 and 97 runs alongside KL Rahul. The latter cashed in well when Dhawan was forced out with an injury. The versatile Rahul has scored emphatically for a while now at the top. Against Lanka, he scored 45 and 53.
Generally, Dhawan and Rohit have been India’s main options, however, Rahul’s consistency means he will be preferred at the moment alongside the returning Rohit in the ODIs against Australia.
Iyer the number four solution, Pandey the trusted asset for India
What Shreyas Iyer has done since coming into the team in the tour of West Indies earlier in August 2019, he has been a pretty sorted customer in that number four position. The Indian cricket team is happy to back Iyer and he looked solid in the second T20I against Lanka with a brisk 34. Iyer will aim to contribute further in the series against Australia and New Zealand next.
When you look at India’s batting options on the bench, Manish Pandey comes in as someone who is highly experienced and brings so much into the side. Pandey, who has mostly featured as a substitute fielder of late, got a rare chance in the third T20I. He came in when India were losing wickets in a quick fashion.
However, the Karnataka batsman showed calmness and stitched an important stand with Kohli. He remained unbeaten on 31 off just 18 balls.
Indian pacers were the biggest gainers from the series
The Men in Blue will be needing at least four top pacers for the ICC World T20 to be held in Australia. Jasprit Bumrah is India’s main bowler and Mohammed Shami looks like a certain bet. Bumrah gained big time after a four-month injury lay-off. He looked sharp in the series and gave the side to build around him.
Then came Thakur and Saini. Both these players claimed five wickets in the series and stayed true to their potential. Saini’s pace was electrifying and he looks like a someone who can extract a lot with the attributes on offer. He was given the man of the series award. Thakur was accurate and didn’t step a foot wrong.
One expects to see a close contest in the pace department with the injured Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in fray.
Spinners’ pool interesting for India
It will be an interesting sight for India to see how many spinners they field in the squad against New Zealand away from home in the five-match T20I series. At the moment, India have four options in hand. However, not all four will make the mark against both NZ and remains to be seen how many spinners India field in their squad during the ICC World T20.
Washington Sundar was superb against Sri Lanka. He bowled with a lot of character and impressed. Meanwhile, Kohli chose to rotate the wrist-spinners in the form of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who got one game each. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was benched. However, he is another player in the mix.
All these four spinners will have a shout for India’s upcoming T20I assignments.
Lanka in a spot of bother and need fresh ideas
Sri Lanka will need to go back to the drawing-room and brush themselves. They need to be bold and decide whether they should continue with Lasith Malinga as the skipper.
The veteran bowler didn’t take a single wicket in eight overs and gave up 81 runs. The right-arm pacer took part of the blame for his side’s poor run.
After being reappointed as the skipper back in January 2019, Malinga hasn’t been top draw. Sri Lanka has lost ten T20Is under him and won just once.
And Lanka will be involved in the Qualifiers to book a berth in the World T20. If they falter there, then that will be a massive blow for the inexperienced islanders.
Is Malinga the right man? Only time will tell.
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