Onus on the Sri Lankan batsmen to put up a good show after demoralising loss in the first game.
High on confidence after recording its highest margin of victory by runs in the shortest format of the game, India will look to seal the Twenty20 International series when it faces off against a bruised Sri Lanka in the second of the T20Is at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Friday (December 22).
There has been a ruthless streak in a lot of India's victories in recent times and that was in evidence in the first T20I in Cuttack. After scoring an above par 180 for 3 on a two-paced surface, the bowlers, led by the Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, hardly put a foot wrong to dismantle Sri Lanka for just 87 in 16 overs to help India canter to a 93-run victory.
The fact that India was able to reach a formidable total was down to KL Rahul's measured half-century on return to international cricket and MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey's late blitz when they scored 66 runs in the last five overs.
Rahul, for all his success in the Test arena, has had a difficult year in limited-overs cricket. He, however, looked fluent from the word go in Cuttack, mixing caution with aggression to score a 48-ball 61. Dhoni's return to form was another highlight. While the former captain's position in the ODI team has never been in question, his finishing prowess in T20Is has been under scrutiny for a while. Promoted to No. 4, Dhoni slammed a 22-ball 39 not out with four fours and a six. And with Pandey scoring an unbeaten 32 in 18 balls, the game had slipped away from Sri Lanka by the halfway stage.
Despite dew being a headache for the bowlers, Chahal and Kuldeep then combined to do what they have been doing over the past few games, finishing with combined figures of 6 for 41 in eight overs. Along the way, Chahal also became the highest wicket-taker in T20Is for 2017 with 19 wickets, going past Rashid Khan and Kesrick Williams (17 apiece).
Such was the damage caused by the two wrist-spinners that Jasprit Bumrah, the most experienced bowler in the side, needed to bowl just two overs.
For Sri Lanka, things have gone from bad to worse over the past few months. Having put up a spirited show in the first and third Tests and the first ODI, it was expected to run a new-look Indian outfit close. Instead, there was abject surrender.
It must do more of what it did well in the first game. It had India at 119 for 3 at the end of the 16th over. But with dew settling in, the bowlers found it tough to grip the ball and they ended up bowling five full-tosses in the last two overs, each of which was carted away to the boundary. The young Sri Lankan bowlers will do well to take a cue from the Indian spinners, who made an effort to keep the ball dry at all times.
The biggest problem for Sri Lanka has been its batting. The players have failed to read Chahal and Kuldeep. Sri Lanka will need the likes of Tharanga, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera to infuse life into the setup, which the likes of Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Perera can build on.
With just a day's rest between games, it will be tough for the Sri Lankans to pick themselves up after such a heavy defeat, but the fans in Indore would be hoping for a better all-round show from them.
The Holkar Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for the Indians, who have won all five ODIs and the lone Test played at the venue to date. The pitch has usually been a belter, and it should look no different when the two teams lock horns for the first T20I to be played at the venue. Dew is again expected to play a prominent part owing to the evening start.
India: Rohit Sharma (capt), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Basil Thampi, Jaydev Unadkat.
Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (capt), Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Asela Gunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando.
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