19 December 2017
Cuttack: India will aim to continue their supremacy over Sri Lanka when they face off in the opener of the three-match T20 International series at the Barabati Stadium here on Wednesday.
Fresh from a 2-1 win in the ODI series, a new-look India will once again be led by Rohit Sharma, even as regular skipper Virat Kohli and some other regulars have been rested for the challenging South Africa tour later this month.
India enjoy a 7-4 record against the Islanders in the shortest format but do not have happy memories of the solitary T20I at the venue.
The men-in-blue had folded up for 92 in their six-wicket loss to South Africa in 2015 as crowd trouble brought infamy to the venue.
Going into Wednesday's tie, Rohit will have a new opening partner in Lokesh Rahul with Shikhar Dhawan being rested for the rubber.
Former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will need to guide the inexperienced middle order comprising rookies Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Hooda and Manish Pandey while Dinesh Karthik and all-rounder Hardik Pandya can provide stability to the lower order.
The bowling department will be spearheaded by death over specialist Jasprit Bumrah, who will have Saurashtra left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat, Hyderabad's Mohammad Siraj and two first-timers in Washington Sundar and Basil Thampi for company.
Besides the pacers, the wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are expected to deliver.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have lost five T20Is on the trot, starting from the match against Bangladesh in April.
For the visitors, Upul Tharanga was in imperious form during his 95 in the third ODI and he would be the key along with former skipper Angelo Mathews.
The islanders would also hope that stumper Niroshan Dickwella strikes form to give some stability to the middle order which comprises the likes of Asela Gunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Thisara Perera.
India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Lokesh Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, Basil Thampi, Jaydev Unadkat.
Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (Captain), Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Janith Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Asela Gunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Dananjaya De Silva, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Dusmantha Chameera.