Sri Lanka seek all-round improvement with series on the line

Match details
MCA Stadium, Pune
January 10, Friday; 19:00 IST

The main picture
They have now lost four T20 Internationals in a row and it has been such a recurring theme that Sri Lanka need an improvement in their own performance to bridge the gap between themselves and a more settled side as India. The seven-wicket loss in Indore, where they didn’t play badly, suggests Sri Lanka need to improve in all three facets with the series on the line in Pune.

All-rounder Isuru Udana has been ruled out of the third T20I with a back injury, with Angelo Mathews likely to replace him. Blighted by hamstring and knee injuries himself, Mathews doesn’t bowl regularly now. If he plays as a specialist batsman, Sri Lanka will need to tinker with their playing 11 further and perhaps bring in a bowler for Oshada Fernando.

India, though, have no such worries and the convincing victory in the second T20I was further affirmation that they indeed “are on the right track” ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia. Navdeep Saini’s performance was the big positive, though Shardul Thakur’s three-for and Kuldeep Yadav completing his four-over spell while Sri Lanka batsmen looked to attack him did their prospects no harm amid the intense competition for places. India, you can be sure, will not allow complacency to creep in with the chance to win a third consecutive T20I series before the sterner challenge against New Zealand later this month.

MCA Stadium Pune pitch report and weather forecast

The MCA Stadium is set to host a T20 International almost four years after India and Sri Lanka played here, the Islanders winning by five wickets after restricting India to 101. Sri Lanka are a vastly different side in terms of personnel this time and the pitch, too, has become progressively better. The pitch for the India-South Africa Test match last October offered good pace and bounce, thanks largely to the grass covering, with suggestions that its characteristics were similar to a South African pitch. For the T20I tomorrow, you can expect it to be good for batting, while the playing area is comparatively bigger than the Holkar Stadium.

The weather forecast says that Friday evening will be clear to partly cloudy, with the temperature around 15-degree Celsius, while the air quality might be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

India vs Sri Lanka 3rd T20 playing 11

Predicted India playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 KL Rahul, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Shivam Dube, 7 Kuldeep Yadav, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Navdeep Saini

Possible Sri Lanka playing 11: 1 Lasith Malinga (c), 2 Avishka Fernando, 3 Danushka Gunathilaka, 4 Kusal Perera (wk), 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 7 Dhananjaya de Silva, 8 Dasun Shanaka, 9 Kasun Rajitha/Lakshan Sandakan, 10 Wanindu Hasaranga, 11 Lahiru Kumara

India vs Sri Lanka 3rd T20I telecast channel

The third T20 International between India and Sri Lanka will be telecast on the Star Sports network and streamed live on Hotstar.

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