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Rampant India eye series clean sweep versus Sri Lanka in third T20I

India will look to end the three-match T20 series vs Sri Lanka on a high when they face off in the final match of the series at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

cricket Updated: Dec 23, 2017 23:42 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs Sri Lanka,Wankhede Stadium,Indian cricket team
India have registered two big wins vs Sri Lanka in their previous two T20 matches and will look to end this series on a high at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. (AFP)

Having battered the visitors throughout this tour with scores of 102*, 65, 50*, 208* and 118 across formats —Rohit Sharma will eye yet another big score in his home ground to help India rout Sri Lanka in the three-match T20I series.

Rohit entered record books on Friday when he hammered a 35-ball century in the second T20I at Indore — matching South Africa’s David Miller by scoring the fastest century in the slam-bang format. The stand-in captain had missed out on a big score in the first T20I at Cuttack, but India still crushed Sri Lanka by 93 runs. The victory margin was 88 runs in Indore.

Rohit’s blitz at Indore saw India amass the joint second-highest T20I total of 260/5. Sri Lanka’s task has been made tougher due to the rich form of KL Rahul, who has scored 61 and 89 after getting to open in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence.

For India, another local boy Shreyas Iyer will look to make amends after falling for a first-ball duck in Indore after scoring 24 in Cuttack. Iyer has had an extended run in the national team as Virat Kohli is away and the third match provides him an excellent opportunity. MS Dhoni’s scores of 39* and 28 — along with his promotion to No 3 — and Manish Pandey’s form would also have pleased the team management.

To add variety, India have played left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat in both the games. Having pocketed the series, India can try out new faces in Deepak Hooda, Basil Thampi, Mohammed Siraj or Washington Sundar.

However, Yuzvendra Chahal’s eight wickets in the first two games and Kuldeep Yadav’s strikes may make it difficult to force any change in the bowling attack as India look to wrap up the series with another dominant show.

For Sri Lanka, the contest presents an opportunity to end their dismal year, and a series in which they have been outplayed, on a good note. Across formats, Sri Lanka have lost 39 of the 56 matches they have played in 2017.

Kusal Perera’s 37-ball 77 was the lone bright spot for the visitors in Indore, in a game where they used seven bowlers lost by 88 runs. With three wickets each, Thisara Perera and Nuwan Pradeep top the charts but their economy rate is over 10.

The Wankhede Stadium pitch will be batting-friendly, but India will be aware they had lost their previous contest here to New Zealand in October despite Virat Kohli’s 31st ODI century.

It will be India’s final outing at home before they head to tours of South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand in 2018-19.

First Published: Dec 23, 2017 20:27 IST