India v Sri Lanka
Saturday 26 February, 13:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
India rest Kohli
Despite some upheaval in their squad, India still managed to stroll to a 62-run win in the first T20 in Lucknow on Thursday.
Fifties from Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer ensued a monster total of 199. And Sri Lanka were never in the hunt.
It was a strong performance by India after Suryakumar Yadav, a rock against the West Indies, and Deepak Chahar were ruled out with injury. Neither are expected to play a part in the series.
Virat Kohli was also added to the rested roster, joining Rishabh Pant. Immediately India felt the benefit of a gung-ho No 3. Shreyas struck at an extraordinary 203.
Probable XI: Rohit, Ishan, Iyer, Samson, Venkatesh, Jadeja, Hooda, Harshal, B Kumar, Bumrah, Chahal
Sri Lanka's hopes of being competitive were over before a ball was bowled perhaps. Their talisman Wanindu Hasaranga was ruled out of the series.
Hasaranga has tested positive for Covid again, which is frankly bizarre. He missed matches in the Australia series and it is a mystery as to how he could have caught it again or managed to pass a test to fly. Sri Lanka officials are claiming that his 'levels' of virus are lower than they were in Australia. Go figure.
Charith Asalanka notched a fifty but striking at 112 isn't going to win Sri Lanka anything. It was an experimental line-up with no Kusal Mendis or Gunathilaka. One or both may return to try to give willow firepower.
Possible XI: Nissanka, Gunathilaka, Kusal, Asalanka, Chandimal, Shanaka, Karunaratne, Chameera, Vandersay, Jayawickarama, Lahiru
There has been limited T20 action in Dharamsala. There have been no matches played there since the 2017 Syed Mushtaq Trophy. It's a long time ago and we're nervous about taking the data too seriously.
What it does suggest is that a run fest is unlikely. Well, not for Sri Lanka anyone who need a pitch of glass it would seem. In those ten matches more than 130 was busted only four times.
It means we are unlikely to be taking a huge risk by going underSri Lanka runs in the low 150s if they bat first.
Too many ifs at play for this one. India are 1.162/13 versus Sri Lanka's 6.005/1. If the pitch is as dodgy, if Sri Lanka can bat faster than snail's pace, if they win the toss and bowl. It's a mismatch. Sri Lanka desperately need to be at full-strength but they're not. Best to keep powder dry for an even more experimental India when the series is over and they have nowt to play for.
It's tempting to bet bog on Rohit Sharma at 11/4 for top match bat and man of the match at 6s. Don't. The prices are no value. Rohit wins 17% of the time on the former and 9% of the time on the latter so there's no edge for us.
The boosted 12/5 for top India bat is close but no cigar. Sanju Samson at 9/2 and Venkatesh at 8s have appeal.
For Sri Lanka Chamika Karunaratne looks chunky at 20s. He can give it a whack and 25-30 may be all that is required. Bet the Sportsbook markets here.