Eyes on World T20, India and Lanka look to get an upper hand

Pallekele: The world number two ranking clinched following a dominating 4-1 triumph in ODIs, India will now look to stamp their authority against Sri Lanka in the only Twenty20 international in Pallekele on Tuesday.

India’s domination was reflected in the margin of victory and they would look to carry their rampaging form to the shortest version of cricket as well.

Sri Lanka and India have played only four T20s since 2009, with both teams winning two each and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men will look to gain an upper hand on Tuesday.

The match also holds prominence considering the fact that the T20 World Cup is round the corners and it would be hosted by Sri Lanka from September 18.

The Indian team had a smooth comeback to international cricket after a rather long break. Their batsmen fared well and so did the bowlers.

Even allrounders such as Irfan Pathan performed satisfactorily, prompting coach Duncan Fletcher to say that he would soon command a regular place in the ODI team.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, had nothing to show beside the only victory in the second ODI in the five-match series and the hosts will now pin hopes on their young guns in the T20 international on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka’s problems were many especially losing Kumar Sangakkara through injury and having to contend with a below par Lasith Malinga and a Mahela Jayawardene reluctant to take more responsibility up the order.

The silver lining, however, in the dark clouds was the unexpected gutsy performances of some of the lesser known names such as the left-handed Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeewan Mendis, not so young in terms of age.

“Very encouraging to see guys like Thirimanne and Mendis joining the show. We always depend on the likes of Sangakkaras, Jayawardenes and Dilshans to win games for us. We saw the guts Thirimanne and Mendis had. They almost pulled it through,” Acting captain Angelo Mathews had said after the final ODI in Sri Lanka.

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