Just like every meal is followed by a dessert, India will wrap up their short tour of Sri Lanka with an one off T20I. With the T20 World Cup looming large, this match assumes significance for both teams. This will be the host's final T20I before the extravaganza and they would ideally like to fine tune their preparations. Of-course, the majority of their players will be part of the inaugural version of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) which should be an ideal preparation going into the mega tournament.
On the other hand, India will start their preparations now. Having had a 6 week break, a luxury by Indian standards, India looked like the fresher team as they steamrolled the hosts in the 50 over contests. The scene now shifts to the shortest form of the game, one where the Indians have traditionally struggled. Having started off in a glorious fashion by winning the inaugural tournament, India's fortunes have nosedived in recent times. The 3 matches before the tournament will give the visitors an excellent opportunity to sharpen their skills.
Both teams have played each other 4 times and have shared the honours with 2 wins apiece. The last time these two met, Sri Lanka knocked India out of the 2010 T20 WC in a thrilling chase.
India are currently placed 7th in the ICC T20I rankings and a win against Sri Lanka will help them to fourth in the standings. The hosts, immaterial of a win or a loss, will remain in the third position.
Pallekele has hosted 2 T20Is so far in its brief history. The hosts have a 100% record at this ground after having won both matches against Australia in 2011.
India will be without Virender Sehwag who flew back home following a glute problem which forced him to miss the final ODI.The expensive Ashok Dinda might be replaced by either Rahul Sharma or Umesh Yadav. It will be interesting to see if Rohit Sharma gets to play after his miserable time in the ODI matches.
The hosts will welcome back their skipper, Mahela Jayawardene who opted out of the final ODI. Chamara Kapugedera might be the man to miss out.
Mahela Jaywardene is 45 runs short from becoming the first Sri Lankan batsman to complete 1000 career T20I runs.
Tillakaratne Dilshan is another one who will aim to get to 1000 runs, he needs another 83 runs.
It was a very good win after a long break. We obviously were going to arrive here a bit unfit, we worked on fitness regime and played some good cricket. There is room for improvement - Duncan Fletcher is pleased with the start to the new season.
We hope to play well on Tuesday by doing things we have to do keeping in mind the T20 World Cup coming up - Mahela Jayawardene realizes the importance of the match.
Sri Lanka (From): Mahela Jayawardene(c), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal(w), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Chamara Kapugedera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep
India (From): MS Dhoni(w/c), Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Gautam Gambhir, Pragyan Ojha, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Rahul Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Manoj Tiwary