Pawan Negi looks set to make his international debut for India on what seems to be a dry pitch in Ranchi and an even drier outfield. After suffering a scathing defeat in the first match, India will be keen to put things right in the 2nd T20 against Sri Lanka, and, looking at the conditions, it does look more suited to India's strengths.
However, there are concerns over the outfield in Ranchi, a late substitute venue after Delhi were forced to pull out, with sand thrown in large parts of the ground. The groundsman is unhappy at the lack of rain, which has caused the outfield to look like it has come straight out of the 1990s, but what will concern India and Sri Lanka will be the chance of injury.
All the two teams can do is get on with the job, though, and the job is certainly India's to take over after that shambolic batting performance in Pune. While the home team is not expected to make any change in the batting department, despite getting only 101 on Tuesday, there could be a change in the all-rounder's slot, with Negi, the highest Indian buy at the IPL 2016 Player Auction last week, coming in for Hardik Pandya.
"I haven't seen the pitches yet but what I see from the outfield it's pretty dry," India team director Ravi Shastri was quoted as saying by PTI. "Lot of sand on the outfield which clearly suggests that they did not have water here. I have not had a look at the pitch but we are game to play horses for courses.
"That's what we did all the time and if the pitch demands, it will be that. If you think it's going to turn we have the resources and that's the idea of this team to have resources for different conditions."
With the pitch expected to be on the slower side, it makes sense to bring in another spinner, and Negi, like Pandya, can also tonk the ball a long way, which is a good luxury to have. Harbhajan Singh will also hope to be involved, and if the off-spinner misses out in this match, you feel he will be given an opportunity in the final one in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.
"Ideal scenario would be to give most of the guys who are part of the World Cup squad a run," Shastri said. "That will be the endeavour but you will have to see what the conditions are, what the state of the series is and accordingly decide."
Sri Lanka will take a look at the pitch conditions, no doubt, but after the three pacers – , Kasun Rajitha, Dasun Shanaka and Dushmantha Chameera – did so well in the first match, they will probably go with the same bowling attack again.
The experienced Tillakaratne Dilshan, though, is expected to return after sitting out the first match through injury. Niroshan Dickwella, who was called in as cover after Dilshan got injured, should make way for the former captain.
Predicted playing XI: India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Pawan Negi, R Ashwin, Ashish Nehra, Jasprit Bumrah.
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamara Kapugedera, Milinda Siriwardana, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Sachitra Senanayake, Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera.