The recent series against Sri Lanka for the so called “second string Indian team” was meant to be an audition for the few spots that are still up for grabs in the lead up to the marquee T20 event scheduled later this year. The series, which consisted of three ODIs and as many T20Is, could be actually be divided into 2 phases - with one being the three one dayers and the first T20, where every Indian player from the touring party was available for selection, and the second being the post Krunal Pandya testing positive phase, where the number of available Indian batsmen was comparable to the number of spinners that Sri Lanka were fielding in their eleven.
Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka hailed his bowlers after the hosts got the better of a depleted India by seven wickets in the third T20I to clinch the three-match series 2-1. Shanaka opined that this was the best Sri Lanka had bowled in the last few years.
Sri Lanka took full advantage of India’s weakened playing XI to win the second T20I in Colombo by four wickets and square the three-match 1-1. India were forced to play a new-look XI after Krunal Pandya tested COVID-19 positive on Tuesday. The visitors handed debuts to four players - Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal, Nitish Rana and Chetan Sakariya. India went in with only five batsmen with all the other batters in isolation.
The second T20I of the series between India and Sri Lanka has been postponed by a day after India all-rounder Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. The match will now be played on Wednesday, July 28 at the R Premadasa stadium in Colombo. Krunal and eight other close contacts have been placed in isolation. According to reports, the close contacts include Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav, who were due to fly to England for the Test series. As of now, no latest COVID cases have been reported from the Sri Lankan camp.
Team India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar expressed satisfaction at his performance after bowling the side to victory in the first T20I of the three-match series against Sri Lanka on Sunday. Kumar claimed excellent figures of 4 for 22 as India successfully defended a total of 164 in Colombo. The Indian pacer got the big wicket of Avishka Fernando and then ran through the lower order as the visitors rolled over the Lankans for 126 in 18.3 overs.
Former India opener Virender Sehwag feels that Manish Pandey may not get another chance to play for India in ODIs. And, even if he does, it may take a long time coming. Pandey played in all three matches of the ODI series against Sri Lanka but disappointed with scores of 26, 37 and 11. While Sehwag also named all-rounder Hardik Pandya as one of the letdowns, according to him, Pandey was the biggest disappointment.
India captain for the Sri Lanka limited-overs series, Shikhar Dhawan, has admitted that the three-match T20I series will be crucial for him to put his name as a contender for the T20 World Cup. Dhawan did not feature in most of the matches of the T20I series against England at home earlier in the year. KL Rahul was preferred as Rohit Sharma’s opening partner. However, Dhawan scored 600-plus runs in IPL 2020 and was the leading run-scorer this year as well until the tournament was suspended.
Indian captain Shikhar Dhawan admitted that India did not put up enough runs on the board after winning the toss and batting first in the third ODI in Colombo. Having already won the series, India made as many as five changes to the team that played the second one-dayer. India were all-out for 225 in 43.1 overs with Prithvi Shaw, Sanju Samson and Suryakumar Yadav all contributing 40s. In response, Sri Lanka reached 227 for 7 in 39 overs in the rain-curtailed match. Avishka Fernando top-scored with 76 while Bhanuka Rajapaksa contributed 65.