Ishan Kishan injury a concern as another clean sweep streak calls India

India’s immediate concern ahead of the third T20I against Sri Lanka at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala is the health and welfare of striker Ishan Kishan. The 23-year-old suffered a head injury in the 2nd T20I after being hit by a bouncer from Sri Lankan speedster Lahiru Kumara. Although Kishan struck for a short time after the hit, he was admitted to hospital after the match.

Kishan was player of the game in the first T20I for his flourishing 89 and scored 16 in last night’s game. If the young batter is deemed unsuitable for Game 3, India would be forced to change their batting order. Fly-half Ruturaj Gaikwad suffered a wrist injury before the first game and was ruled out of the series. Mayank Agarwal was later added to the Indian squad as Gaikwad’s replacement. Kishan’s absence could open up a place for Agarwal. It would be interesting to note who of Agarwal or Sanju Samson is preferred as an opener with Rohit Sharma.

That problem aside, India would be delighted with Shreyas Iyer’s form. The hitter has been in scorching form in the series after hitting 50 in a row. Iyer a who was frequently confined to the bench in the presence of Suryakumar Yadav made the occasion count. Iyer’s show with the bat gives the Indian skipper more options as the team builds a squad for this year’s T20 World Cup.

Despite the batting form, India’s batting in Game 3 would look sparse with just four specialist hitters (Sharma, Samson, Iyer and Agarwal) in the playing XI.

The bowling unit continues to consistently deliver every game. The pace trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel managed to control the flow of runs or pick wickets. With the series already in the bag, India could be looking to give Mohammed Siraj or Avesh Khan a chance. Leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal did well in both games, but if the team wants to give Chahal a rest then Kuldeep Yadav or Ravi Bishnoi could be called up.

The versatile Venkatesh Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja should keep their places. Returning from injury, Jadeja netted a blistering 47 in India’s pursuit in the second game.

Sri Lanka trail 0-2 in the series, but their recent history shows they could prevent India from wiping the slate clean. Sri Lanka trailed Australia 0-4 in their previous T20I series. But the team bounced back hard to win Game 5 T20I to rob Australia of the joy of a clean sweep.

The stick looks in good condition although there is still a lot of room for improvement. Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka reached their 50s in the first and second T20I respectively. Captain Dasun Shanaka hit a fire 47 in game two. The consistency of the middle order remains a big problem for the team, however.

Sri Lanka sorely missed the spin duo of Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana. Both spinners can play Powerplay and control the flow of races and also choose wickets. Praveen Jayawickrama and Jeffrey Vandersay were unable to match the bar set by Hasaranga and Theekshana.

The fast pace of Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera can cause problems for hitters. But both bowlers have been a bit pricey in both games so far. Watch out for them in Australia later this year.

India are on an 11-game winning streak. Can the team stretch it to 12 or will the Lankans once again prove they are spoiling the party?

(Edited by : Bivekananda Biswas)


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