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08-Dec-2009 09:55:00 GMT
India vs Sri Lanka, 1st Twenty20, Nagpur

Ind vs SL 1st Twenty20 - India favourite in T20 Opener

Nagpur: Having crowned themselves the number one team in Test rankings, India would look to assert their supremacy in the shortest format as well when they clash against Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 International on Wednesday.

The 2-0 triumph and the number one Test ranking also gives India a psychological edge over the visitors, who are still licking their wounds after being spanked by an innings by the home team in two consecutive Test matches.

India have made a few changes in their squad, resting pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and calling up youngsters Ashok Dinda and R Ashwin.

With Test specialists Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman not considered any more for the limited-over clashes, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan and Rohit Sharma would shore up the middle-order along with Yuvraj Singh and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Starting with Virender Sehwag, India have such an array of stroke-players who can simply whip the bowlers around and cart them for sixes and fours with ease and the batting gives the hosts a clear edge.

Gambhir would be eager to get back into the groove at the new VCA Stadium in Jamtha after skipping the Mumbai Test to attend his sister's wedding in Delhi.

The Sri Lanka bowlers would need to come out with something innovative to restrict the hosts' batting line-up and put a stop to their losing streak on the tour.

The visitors have brought in right-arm sling-action bowler Lasith Malinga, who missed the Test series because of an injury, to strengthen their pace bowling attack which was exposed thoroughly in the Test series.

The tourists have also brought in all-rounders Chintaka Jayasinghe, Kaushalya Weeraratne and Muthumudalige Pushpakumara to play only the two T20s.

Their choices have increased for this form of the game with Angelo Mathews finally showing form with his fine knock of 99 in the Mumbai Test.

The islanders would also be hoping that their flamboyant, veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya - who has joined the squad for the second part of the tour - and in-form opener Tillakaratne Dilshan would be their answer to the Sehwag and Gambhir combination at the top.

Lanka have not yet made up their mind whether the 40-year-old Jayasuriya, who is aiming to make the World Cup his Swansong, would open their innings.

Skipper Kumar Sangakkara had said earlier that Jayasuriya would bat down the order if the situation demanded despite the fact that he has been a very successful opener against all opposition, including India.

Team news

India: With the resting Zaheer, another left-armer in Ashish Nehra would lead their attack with S Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma likely to partner him while the spin options are Yusuf Pathan, Pragyan Ojha and the uncapped Ashwin.

Squad (likely): MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, S Sreesanth, Pragyan Ojha.

Sri Lanka: In the only previous T20 clash between the two teams, in February this year at Colombo, Jayasuriya (33) and Dilshan (61), who led the side, opened the Lanka batting and put on 59 in less than six overs.

Squad (likely):
Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Kapugedara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, Kaushalya Weeraratne.

Pitch and conditions
There's no rain forecast in Nagpur but the difference between day and night temperatures are significant which means dew could be a factor in the evening. The pitch is the same as the one on which India scored 354 in an ODI against Australia in October so expect more runs.

Stats and trivia

  • Both teams will be coming into this game on losing streaks - Sri Lanka have lost their last four (before which they had won six in a row) while India have lost their last three.
  • India have played only once at home and once against Sri Lanka, and have won both games, they beat Australia by seven wickets at the Brabourne Stadium in 2007, and Sri Lanka by three wickets in Colombo earlier this year.
  • Sri Lanka have a slightly better win-loss record, 14-9 in 23 games, compared to India's 9-7 in 18 matches.
  • Sri Lanka have preferred batting first in Twenty20 games, winning nine and losing five. When batting second, they've won five and lost four. For India the numbers are almost the same 5-4 when batting first, and 4-3 when chasing.
  • Tillakaratne Dilshan is the leading run-scorer in Twenty20 internationals among batsmen from these two teams, with Sanath Jayasuriya in second place.

Match facts
Wednesday December 09, 2009
Start time: 17:30 local time (12:00 GMT), 05:30pm Sri Lanka

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