Image Credit: BCCI/ Twitter

The second T20I in Pune saw Sri Lanka upset India by 16 runs, despite the heroic efforts of Suryakumar Yadav and Axar Patel. With this loss, the three-match series is now tied at one-all, which raises more questions about India’s readiness for the forthcoming ICC tournaments. The third and final T20I match between India and Sri Lanka will take place today, and in an effort to win the series, India will strive to aton for the mistakes they committed in the series’ first two games. Here are the possible change, India will be looking for ahead of the match:

India’s pace attack might see some changes

The hosts’ bowling is still an issue, particularly with their inexperienced pace unit, which was put under a significant amount of stress in the previous game. After a disastrous performance in Pune, talented left-arm bowler Arshdeep Singh will be trying to redeem himself in the last T20I. The left-arm seamer, who was absent from the team due to illness, bowled five no-balls in the second T20I encounter in Pune, the most by any bowler in a match in T20I history.

India ended up bowling seven no-balls, with one apiece from Umran Malik and
Shivam Mavi. Due to the subsequent free-hit “freebies,” Sri Lanka was able to win a high-scoring game by 16 runs on Thursday and tie the series. In these situations, captain Hardik Pandya, who criticized Arshdeep’s mishaps, might be tempted to give Bengal’s young pacer Mukesh Kumar his debut. Hardik can also bring back Harshal Patel, who was benched after taking 2-41 in 4 overs in the opening match at the Wankhede Stadium, which India eventually won but by a narrow margin.

The Indian batting order receives a much-needed reality check

India also has to work on several batting issues. Chasing 207, India got off to a terrible start in the second T20I, losing the top order in the powerplay overs. After the powerplay, Hardik Pandya fell at a score of 12. The situation was then stabilized by Deepak Hooda and Suryakumar before Hasaranga dismissed Hooda for 9. Before Suryakumar was removed for 51, he and Axar Patel had stitched together a partnership of more than 90 runs in just six overs.

Axar was removed for 65 (31) in the final over before he could lead India to win. Indian openers Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan haven’t played to their full potential in the last two T20Is. In this series, Gill, who is playing in his first T20I, has scores of 7 and 5, while Ishan Kishan was dismissed early in Pune. When the openers falter, the middle order must step up, and players like Suryakumar Yadav and Axar Patel have too much work to do, as was evident in the second T20I.

It will be intriguing to watch if they choose to remain with the excellent Shubman Gill despite his failures in the first two contests or bring up Ruturaj Gaikwad, who had a stellar performance for Maharashtra in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, scoring 5 centuries in the event.

The Asian Giants will square off against each other in the series finale today at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. It may look like Sri Lanka have the momentum going into the final, but Hardik Pandya’s team has shown that even despite missing several top players, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Expected Playing XIs

India: Hardik Pandya ©, Ishan Kishan (wk), Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Axar Patel, Shivam Mavi, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal

Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kasun Rajitha, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka