Sri Lanka seeks turnaround against new-look India

India is unlikely to lower their guard as they take on Sri Lanka for the first of three T20 Internationals at Cuttack this evening.

After the 9-0 drubbing at the hands of the Indians earlier this year at home, many would have expected Sri Lanka to capitulate in a similar fashion when its tour started at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

The visitors, though, have managed to put up a spirited show in both the Test and One-Day International series, giving the host a scare on more occasions than one, but having squandered opportunities at crucial junctures, finding itself behind the eight ball yet again.

India, on the other hand, barring a couple of batting collapses on spicy decks, has been clinical throughout, a 1-0 score-line in Tests and a 2-1 victory in the three-match ODI series bearing a strong testimony to that.

The focus now shifts to the three-match Twenty20 International series, the first of which will be staged at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack as the men from the Emerald Isle look to topple a new-look Indian outfit in a format where the host has been the least comfortable in.

Upul Tharanga, with scores of 49, 7 and 95 in the ODI series, will once again shoulder the responsibility of setting up a good platform at the top.

Sri Lanka will also be bolstered with the inclusion of Kusal Perera, who marks his return to the national squad for the first time since injuring his hamstring in the 2017 Champions Trophy against India.

Angelo Mathews, fresh from a century in the second ODI, will again be expected to play a critical role in the middle-order, while the visitors will desperately hope for Niroshan Dickwella and Thisara Perera, the skipper, to strike some form.

With Suranga Lakmal and Lasith Malinga rested for the T20Is, the bowling unit for Sri Lanka looks thin as well.

Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep, and Vishwa Fernando, the uncapped left-arm quick, will form the pace battery, while Akila Dananjaya and Sachith Pathirana will take up the spin-bowling duties for the Islanders.

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