Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
December 24, Sunday; 19:00 IST
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The main picture
While Sri Lanka have been comprehensively beaten in the first two T20Is and will now play for pride in the third T20I, they shouldn’t really be critical of themselves. For, better limited-overs sides have struggled on Indian soil this calendar year and suffered defeats of similar margins in ODIs and T20Is alike. The only complaint is the Lankan Lions’ considerable lack of firepower and the consequent inability to compete against a strong, versatile Indian side.
India haven’t dropped their standard playing against weaker opposition and will have looked at the second T20I as a good workout. They won by a massive 88 runs, but India’s bowling was tested by Kusal Perera and Upul Tharanga with their 109-run second-wicket partnership and Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, in particular, benefitted from bowling under difficult circumstances. The experience gained will stand them in good stead going forward.
With the series secured already, India obviously have a chance to blood in youngsters for tomorrow’s third T20. The home team has a chance to hand Basil Thampi and Deepak Hooda their international debuts, though the team management will have to figure out which players make way.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, are unlikely to tinker much with their line-up from Friday, though they will be keen to sign off with a win. The bowlers had to be sympathised with considering the small boundary and a batsmen-friendly pitch, but the playing XIs that have featured are arguably the best the visiting team can field. Sri Lanka have lost each of their last seven Twenty20 Internationals and tomorrow is another chance to bring that losing streak to an end.
We can expect a similar match on Sunday as the one witnessed on Friday. The Wankhede pitch is another that the batsmen can feast on and the size of the boundary is not too dissimilar from the one at the Holkar Stadium. The Wankhede Stadium has hosted five T20Is to date, with only two featuring India. India have lost both the T20Is they have played at this venue. The weather forecast says that Friday will be clear and the temperature at night will drop to 22 degree Celsius.
IND: WWWLW (from left to right, last five T20Is)
3rd T20: India vs Sri Lanka playing XI
India will look to hand Thampi and Hooda their international debuts and chances are that Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik might make way, considering Mohammed Siraj hasn’t featured yet. Washington Sundar has warmed the bench in the first two T20Is and he might also be given his T20I debut.
Possible India playing 11 for 3rd T20: 1 Rohit Sharma (c), 2 Lokesh Rahul, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Deepak Hooda, 5 Manish Pandey, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Basil Thampi, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Mohammed Siraj, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, and 11 Jaydev Unadkat
A hamstring injury has ruled Angelo Mathews out of the final T20I and Dasun Shanaka is a like-for-like replacement for the former skipper, who will be a loss considering how well he bowled in the first two T20Is. Otherwise, Sri Lanka’s playing XI is unlikely to have personnel changes.
Possible Sri Lanka playing 11: 1 Thisara Perera (c), 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Niroshan Dickwella (wk), 4 Dasun Shanaka, 5 Sadeera Samarawickrama, 6 Kusal Perera, 7 Asela Gunaratne, 8 Chaturanga de Silva, 9 Nuwan Pradeep, 10 Akila Dananjaya, and 11 Dushmantha Chameera
India, with the better personnel and more importantly players in prime form, are favourites to win in Mumbai and complete another clean sweep. However, if they hand debuts to a couple of players and integrate Siraj, the bowling attack, in particular, will be weakened. And if Sri Lanka bat as well as they did in Indore, they will give themselves a chance of avoiding a clean sweep and ending this tour with a win.