Rohit Sharma-led India are in red-hot form and will look to add another straight win when they take on an exhausted Sri Lanka in the second T20I on Saturday at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala.
India’s T20 World Cup preparations appear to be on track, having recently beaten the West Indies 3-0 in a T20I series and then a fresh team emerged to edge out the Lankers in their opening game.
Young opener Ishan Kishan has gained a huge dose of confidence in the series opener after his clashes against the West Indies on Thursday. Kishan found strike rotation difficult in the previous series and was able to overcome this weakness against the Sri Lankan bowlers, apart from displaying the stroke play he’s known for in the IPL.
It’s no time to settle down in a T20 game and India has finally realized that and allowed them to post more than 180 totals on a regular basis. Were it not for Ruturaj Gaekwad’s wrist injury, he could have opened with Kishan and Rohit would have fallen back in order as he did against the West Indies. The same could happen on Saturday if Gaekwad is able to regain full fitness.
Such is Rohit’s class that he hasn’t taken the time to find his rhythm after an injury layoff. He looked in sublime touch en route to his 44th but must be disappointed he did not continue further. Shreyas Iyer was happy to finish third in the absence of the rested Virat Kohli and would look to repeat that for the remainder of the series.
When a full-strength Indian enters the field next, he may not find a place in the playing XI and must therefore make the most of the opportunities that present themselves. As Rohit hinted after the opening game, a fit Ravindra will continue to beat Jadeja higher up the order as the team looks to tweak their much-improved batting abilities.
“We want more from him. That’s why we asked him to hit higher. You will see this becoming more and more common in the games he plays for India. I want him to beat the order more.
“He’s a very improved hitter so we’ll try to promote him in the future. We are very clear about what we want to achieve with him in white ball cricket,” said the rounder.
India is also getting better and better on the bowling front. They used up to seven options Thursday, including Deepak Hooda, and most of them performed well. Venkatesh Iyer was a bit pricey but took a few wickets.
Sri Lanka needs a special effort to come back in the series
It would take a special effort from Sri Lanka to end India’s 10-game winning streak in the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama. With a failed top order and the absence of frontline spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga, Sri Lanka struggled to keep up in the first game.
Even skipper Dasun Shanaka, who bowled after a while, didn’t help as the Indians were unstoppable with the bat.
The weather is expected to be much colder than Lucknow at night. With only one travel day between the two games, the players have little time to get used to the conditions.