India eye another series win after Mumbai jailbreak

by Staff •  Published on Wed, Jan 4, 2023, 09:46 PM

Securing a series at home has pretty much become a routine for the Indian side, and that holds even if they don’t put out a first-choice XI on the park. On Thursday (January 5), they will fancy their chances of adding to their collection of silverware as Hardik Pandya’s new-look T20I side continues to make positive strides.

It might not be as straightforward as it seems though, especially after the close call in Mumbai in the opening game of the series. India found themselves in trouble with the bat for the major part of their innings at the Wankhede Stadium and had to be rescued in the final few overs by Deepak Hooda and Axar Patel. With the ball, even though they made a good start with debutant Shivam Mavi making early inroads, the game almost slipped away at the end with Dasun Shanaka and Wanindu Hasaranga taking Sri Lanka closer.

Even in the final over, Hardik gambled by bowling Axar Patel to Chamika Karunaratne and the move paid off. Hardik did stress that the prospect of losing the game had no bearing in his decision to hand the ball to Axar as he wanted to test his troops under pressure. The skipper also intended to bat first at the Wankhede, unlike what most teams would have done at this venue, and reiterated the need for the squad to put themselves in difficult situations that might help them in major tournaments.

Expect more of the same in Pune as well even though the series is there for the taking. From a Sri Lankan perspective, they would hope for a similar performance from their bowlers to give themselves the best chance of squaring the series. Keeping the likes of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav quiet is no mean feat but if they do let them off the hook, their chances will significantly go down.

When:India vs Sri Lanka, January 5, 7 PM local time

Where:MCA Stadium, Pune

What to expect:Moderate temperatures are expected. The last T20I encounter at this venue also featured these two sides in a game where India made over 200 and won by a huge margin.

Team News


Arshdeep Singh was unavailable for the first game, having not recovered in time for illness. With a short turnaround and an ODI series coming up, India might be tempted to not rush him in. Sanju Samson is a doubtful starter for this game and that might open the doors for Rahul Tripathi.

Predicted XI– Ishan Kishan (wk), Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (c), Deepak Hooda, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel/Washington Sundar, Shivam Mavi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umran Malik

Sri Lanka

Kasun Rajitha was taken for runs in Mumbai but he did fare well in Pune way back in 2016 in a T20I to help Sri Lanka win. Will that help him retain his spot? Avishka Fernando may have to wait.

Predicted XI – Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka

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