India are superior to Sri Lanka across all formats as results in the last few months have suggested, where the Men in Blue have been dominant. India will be keen to come up with a similar performance in the upcoming three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka, starting Wednesday at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack.
However, India are without some of their big stars including Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. They have been kept fresh for the tour of South Africa. Sri Lanka will look to take advantage of a team, which looks relatively inexperienced.
India will depend on some youngsters, who have been picked for the series. Shreyas Iyer has already made a mark in the ODI series, and the likes of Jaydev Unadkat, Basil Thampi, Mohammed Siraj and Washington Sundar will be keen to impress.
The bowling department looks raw with quality bowler Jasprit Bumrah leading the line. Jaydev Unadkat, Basil Thampi and Mohammed Siraj are inexperienced.
India may not be too experienced, but are still a strong team with Rohit Sharma as captain and batsmen like KL Rahul, Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik have it in them to strike gold in the first T20.
But, these players have quality IPL experience behind their back, which should give them the confidence to shine when a chance comes along the way. Karthik feels that they should make the most of it.
"I think it's a great opportunity for all the young boys in the team. It's the first time they are part of the team, I'm sure these are exciting times for the young guys, I'm very confident that they will make the best use of the chances given to them," Karthik said.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, are without Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal. The island nation might have lost the ODI series 1-2, but there were plenty of positives to take from the fifty-overs format. Angelo Mathews and Upul Tharanga looked good with the bat, and they will once again have to shine if they are to make a match out of the first T20I.
They have the goods with Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Perera, but the problem has been consistency. If the batsmen score good runs, the bowlers need to back up with some solid performance.
Dasun Shanaka, Sachith Pathirana and Nuwan Pradeep are going to be their key bowlers. Dismissing Rohit for cheap runs will be their number one priority as the likes of Pandey, Karthik have not done too well with the bat, of late.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The first T20 will start at 7 pm local time, 1:30 pm GMT.
Live streaming and TV coverage
India: Star Sports 1 and 3, DD Sports; Live streaming: Hotstar
Sri Lanka: Star Sports
UK: Sky Sports Cricket; Live streaming: Sky Go
US: Willow TV