Seeking to close on a 8-match loss head to head 8 to 17 disparity from 26 exchanges with 1 no-result, it will be in a change of climes Sri Lanka, led by Dasun Shanaka, take on an altogether new look India led by Hardik Pandya in a 3-match series, the first of which in Tuesday’s night face off at Mumbai’s Wankhede International Cricket Stadium. While the 29-year old Pandya has stood in for regular captain Rohit Sharma sidelined by injury, conspicuous is the clear shake up in the Indian team with the likes of master batsman Virat Kohli and eight seniors including fast bowlers Buvaneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja among a big shoot shake up. How Sri Lanka front the changed Indian outlook will be interesting in that thrust to coming tops in India’s own strong hold backyard. From a Sri Lankan perspective, facing a little known quantity tasked to taking forward Indian cricket In the game’s most scintillating short format will on paper be a make look lighter burden for the 31-year old Dasun Shanaka led charges.
The Lankan pack does look sharpened by the return from injury of hard hitting opening batsman Avishka Fernando, the Player of the Final recent Lanka Premier League Tournament, and Dilshan Madushanka and Pramod Madushan, much spoken of young tearaway fast bowlers in an attack bolstered by the inform Kasun Rajitha who ran riot with the ball with the best LPL take of 5 wickets.
Sri Lanka’s quest to reversing reversing fortunes to narrowing the gap will centre around atoning for last time out 3-2 loss to India in early 2022. Emerging Asia Cup champions last year would be a buoyant factor as well though the poor showing at the world cup is a let down from which Shanaka and his young bucks will need to come out of in regaining lost prestige. Of course, beating India in India will be tough given their record that new skipper Pandya with 81 outings under his belt has been tasked with defending. He is known to have hit a match winning 31 off 18. However, the Lankans will dip into a weak link of the new Indian skipper when he became a hat-trick victim of Thisara Perera in 2016. The Lankan batting department does see Bhanuka Rajapaksa in the top rung who wasn’t available for the home series against Afghanistan. The onus will be on him to come good and big from a form rut with strong competition for places.
SRI LANKA SQUAD: Dasun Shanaka (Capt.), Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva (V. Capt.), Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Avishka Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Ashen Bandara, Dilshan Madushanka, Pramod Madushan, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Thushara.
INDIA SQUAD: Hardik Pandya (Capt.), Suryakumar Yadav, Yagvendra Chahal, Arshadeep Singh, Ruturaja Gaikwad, Deepak Honda, Ishan Kishan, Mukesh Kumar, Harshal Patel, Axur Patel, Sanju Samson, Shivar Mavi, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar.