MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni is expected to lead India to a series win against Sri Lanka.IANS

India, who played some sensational cricket to thrash Australia 3-0 in their last T20 series Down Under, will be a confident unit when they host Sri Lanka for a three-match T20 contest, which starts on Tuesday, 9 February.

The India vs Sri Lanka T20 series will be an ideal preparation for both nations before the highly anticipated Asia Cup (February-March) in Bangladesh and World T20 (March-April) in India. This T20 series will play an important role in understanding the perfect combination for both teams before such mega competitions.

India, without a shadow of doubt, start as favourites for the three-match series after their dominating display against Australia. On the other hand, Sri Lanka, who lost to New Zealand 0-2 in their last T20 series, need to play better cricket if they are to pose a challenge to India.

Players such as Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Shikhar Dhawan are going to hold the key with the bat for India in the absence of Virat Kohli, who has been rested for the series.

However, these batsmen are expected to be tested by some quality spinners, including Sachithra Senanayake, Sri Lanka's trump card in the series. 

The Indian batsmen might have succeeded against Australian pacers, but the home team lacked quality spinners to trouble them.

With pitches in India set to assist spinners, Rohit, Shikhar and Raina want to set things straight against slow bowlers of Sri Lanka and become confident when they are up against some quality spinners in the Asia Cup and more importantly in the World T20.

The series, more than the batsmen, should be used by the India bowlers to get into fine rhythm. Bowlers such as Jasprit Bumrah, who impressed against Australia, should be given more exposure in international cricket as he could be one of the strong weapons of India in the future.

However it remains to be seen if India, who have selected a solid 15-member squad, will play their strongest eleven in the series as the Lankan Lions have also not picked a strong side for the T20 series, providing rest to key players such as Lasith Malinga and Angelo Matthews. 

Irrespective of the players in the starting 11, home fans are all set to enjoy the T20 series, set to be hosted in Pune, Ranchi and Visakhapatnam. The short series will be over within six days.

Complete schedule for India vs Sri Lanka T20 series

India vs Sri Lanka 1st T20

Date - 9 February

Time – 7:30 p.m. IST

Venue - Maharashtra Cricket Association Cricket Stadium, Pune

India vs Sri Lanka 2nd T20

Date – 12 February

Time – 7:30 p.m. IST

Venue - JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi

India vs Sri Lanka 1st T20

Date - 14 February

Time – 7:30 p.m. IST

Venue - ACA-VDCA Stadium, Visakhapatnam

TV listings – India and Sri Lanka (Star Sports), England (Sky Sports), South Africa (Supersport) Willow TV (US)

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