National emergency in Sri Lanka hours before India start T20 tri-series

Wednesday, 07 Mar, 2018

Sri Lanka have recently won a tri-nation ODI tournament in Bangladesh and they will take a lot of confidence from the fact. Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who has featured in two T20s, and rookie quick Mohammed Siraj, have been given an opportunity.

While Rohit will lead the side, Shikhar Dhawan has been named his deputy.

Two of Dhawan's sixes came off top-edges over the keeper on the bouncers delivered by Nuwan Pradeep (1/38). The team management has done a wonderful job. Paceman Mohammed Siraj, 23, and Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant are being given the opportunity to gain global experience. The crucial over, however, was the third over, which was bowled by Shardul Thakur.

Last time when India played in the island nation, they pulled off a complete whitewash - 9-0 across formats - but this time, it may not be that easy. Dinesh Chandimal on the other hand is filling in for Angelo Mathews. India enjoyed one-day worldwide and T20 series wins over South Africa earlier this month, but face a resurgent Sri Lanka in their opener on Tuesday.

Rohit is captaining the team in the absence of Virat Kohli, who has been rested alongside other key players such as Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.

India outplayed the Sri Lankans in bilateral rubbers in recent times. Dhawan admitted that the game was taken away from India during those six overs, even as he felt "a bit of dew" may have had a role to play.

Minutes after emergency was declared, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) acting President CK Khanna spoke to the officials in Sri Lanka Cricket Board about the security of visiting Indian cricketers and the fate of the tri-series. Chandika Hathurusingha, Sri Lanka's coach, was not as coy when he assessed the opposition for the tournament.

Sri Lanka also lost Upul Tharanga to leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal cheaply to suffer a minor hiccup before all-rounder Thisara Perera hit 22 off 10 balls to take the side home.

Dhawan hammered six sixes and as many fours in an entertaining effort which came after the early loss of captain Rohit Sharma (0) and Suresh Raina (1).