Date: 25 July 2021
Time: 8:00 PM IST
Venue: R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Live Ball-by-Ball commentary: SportsTiger App
After having won the ODI series, India will walk high on confidence in the first T20I against Sri Lanka. India have been clinical with their performances throughout the series. They might have lost the last fixture but it's worth noting that they played with five debutants in the match. The Men in Blue have dominated their counterparts on numerous occasions in the ODIs and will look to continue their dominance in the T20Is as well.
For Sri Lanka, they were finally able to break the losing streak against India after 9 years. They will be elated with the performance they put in the last ODI, both with the bat and ball. The two spinners, Akila Dananjaya and Praveen Jayawickrama, changed the momentum in Sri Lanka's favor. Since the shortest format gives spinners an upper hand over the attacking batters, the Lankans will fancy their chances to start the series with a win.
With the news of Shaw and Surya Kumar Yadav probably leaving the island nation to fly to England as replacements, team India will have to bring in a new opener to partner Shikhar Dhawan. Devdutt Padikkal looks as the first choice, however, Ruturaj Gaikwad can also make his debut seeing his recent form and plus he is a right handed batsman. Ishan Kishan will probably come back after being rested in the last ODI. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar will also return to the playing XI. India would want to retain their winning combination from the second ODI.
The hosts would not want to make any changes unless there are injury concerns in the camp. They were finally able to break free and will look to keep the momentum on their side. Binura Fernando may return to the side as the fast bowling department has been a let down for the Lankans.
Shikhar Dhawan: With Prithvi Shaw gone, Dhawan will have the onus to score runs at the top of the order. Dhawan was phenomenal in the first phase of IPL and will look to continue his T20 form. Also, with T20 World Cup on cards, Dhawan has to make a strong case for himself to find a place in India's squad.
Avishka Fernando: He has been probably the best player for Sri Lanka in the whole series. He has set the stage on fire with his crucial knocks at the top of the order. Even in the final ODI, he made a brilliant half century to see his team over the line. Avishka Fernando will be the player to watch out for Sri Lanka.
Varun Chakravarthy: The Karnataka spinner has been in people's mind for a long time. However, he is yet to showcase his abilities on the bigger stage. If he gets a chance in the first T20I, he may turn out as the standout performer for the team. With his mysterious yet simple spin bowling, Chakravarthy may prove dangerous for the inexperienced Sri Lankans if given a chance.
Akila Dananjaya: He got only one chance in the ODI series and proved his worth. Also, he boasts of a pretty good record against the Indians. With batters looking to attack in the shortest format, Dananjaya can easily outfox them with his spin bowling.
India: Devdutt Padikkal, Shikhar Dhawan (C), Ishan Kishan (wk), Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal
Sri Lanka: Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjay De Silva, Charith Aslanka, Dasun Shanaka (C), Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Akila Dananjaya, Praveen Jayawickrama, Binura Fernando