R Ashwin Ravindra Jadeja India
India spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will fancy their chances against Sri LankaReuters

India flexed their muscles in the T20 format against Australia, with the batsmen doing what they had to do, while the bowlers backed them up brilliantly as well. Having whitewashed Australia 3-0 in the T20 series, it is over to another three-match rubber, this time against Sri Lanka at home, starting with the 1st T20 in Pune on Tuesday.

On paper, India are the heavy favourites, as Sri Lanka continue to struggle to move on from the Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene era. The Lankans just do not look the same team without those two legends in the batting lineup, with the team struggling to find the next star (or three) who can take them up a level.

[Get the key battles for the 1st T20 HERE]

However, having said that, India cannot afford to take Sri Lanka, who MS Dhoni's men will face in the Asia Cup T20 as well, lightly, because, after all, they are the reigning World T20 champions.

[Get the players to watch in 1st T20 HERE]

Sri Lanka have a penchant to play well in the shortest format, and the beauty of T20s is that all it takes is one superlative performance to win a game. Sri Lanka, even without Sangakkara and Jayawardene, have plenty of players capable of that one outstanding knock or one brilliant bowling spell.

While India are weakened in this series by Virat Kohli being rested, Sri Lanka also have an understrength side. Angelo Mathews was not risked, with the all-rounder struggling with a groin injury, while Lasith Malinga is also out injured with a knee problem, which made him miss the recent tour to New Zealand. Another big miss for Sri Lanka will be Rangana Herath, who troubled the Indian batsmen in the Test series last year, with the experienced opener Tillakaratne Dilshan set to sit out the opening match with an injury as well.

However, despite the absences, this should be a cracking series, considering runs are always the order of the day in the sub-continent. The challenge will be for the bowlers to stop the run glut, and this is where the spinners will come into play.

India have the advantage in that department with two world-class spinners in R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in their lineup. Harbhajan Singh, as the backup, along with Pawan Negi, aren't bad options either.

Ashwin and Jadeja, after struggling for much of the Australia tour – they came back well in the T20 series – will be glad to be back in more familiar environs, with pitches that will aid their style of bowling.

1st T20 schedule: India vs Sri Lanka.

Date: Tuesday, 9 February.

Time: 7.30 pm IST (7.30 pm SLST, 2 pm GMT, 9 am ET).

Venue: MCA International Stadium in Pune.

TV listings: India: Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 3 and Star Sports HD3. Sri Lanka and the rest of the Indian subcontinent: Star Sports network. UK: Sky Sports 1. USA: Willow TV. Australia: Fox Sports 1. Middle East and North Africa: OSN Sports Cricket HD. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport 7.

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