Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli attends a practice session ahead of the third T20 international match against Sri Lanka in Pune on Friday. Reuters
India will look to push for a series win with the second consecutive victory against Sri Lanka in the third and final T20I match in Pune on Friday. The hosts cruised to a comfortable seven-wicket win in the second match to take an unassailable 1-0 lead in the three-match series after the first match was sacrificed at the altar of rain in trouble-hit Guwahati.
The second match was dominated by Virat Kohli’s men completely. They did not allow the visitors to take upper hand in any department of the game.
The comeback-man Jasprit Bumrah spearheaded the bowling charge and hit the length right from the word go, not showing any signs of lacking match practice. Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur also picked wickets at crucial junctures of the game alongside Kuldeep Yadav and helped India restrict Sri Lanka to a mere 142.
In fact, it was the pace of Saini, which impressed one and all as he bowled constantly in excess of 140 and troubled the Lankan batters.
In batting, KL Rahul continued with his good form and alongwith Shikhar Dhawan, laid the foundation of the chase which the hosts completed without any hiccups.
Thus, for the final T20I, all India need to do is to continue with their run and prepare for the three ODIs against Australia.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka need to improve their performance on all fronts if they aim to level the series.
On a flat pitch in Indore, Sri Lanka batters played a lot of dot balls as India bowled very accurate lines right through the innings. Their batters got starts but were not able to carry on with their innings.
Lasith Malinga would be tempted to bring in Angelo Mathews for left-arm pacer Isuru Udana who has been ruled out with a back injury. The inclusion of Mathews can strengthen the visitors on both the fronts as he provides them with a decent bowling option apart from batting skills.
Bumrah is one wicket away from becoming Indias leading wicket-taker in T20Is, and when Kohli and Co. take on Sri Lanka, he can achieve the feat. Currently, he is tied with R Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal with 52 wickets to his name.
Bumrah has taken 44 matches to claim 52 wickets while Chahal took only 36 matches. Ashwin on the other hand, has 52 wickets in 46 matches.
Returning from injury, all eyes were on Bumrah in the second T20I in Indore which India won comfortably by seven wickets. The first T20I was called off without a ball being bowled due to rain and damp patches on the pitch.
Bumrah, who has been out of action after India’s tour of the West Indies in July-August last year due to a stress fracture on his back, started off with a wide in the first ball in Indore and was hit for a four in the second as he finished conceding seven runs.
Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando hit boundaries off him in the fourth over as India’s premier pacer looked a bit rusty starting off, but in the end bowled a superbly disguised slower to castle Dasun Shanaka in the 17th over.
Bumrah was taken for 12 in the final over by Wanindu Hasaranga (16 not out) who hit a hat-trick of fours to end the innings with a flourish as the fast bowler returned figures of 1/31 in his four overs.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Manish Pandey, Washington Sundar, Sanju Samson
Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (c), Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya De Silva, Isuru Udana, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Kusal Mendis, Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha
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