Twenty20 internationals (3): India 2, Sri Lanka 0
India won their fourth Twenty20 series out of five, overwhelming an inexperienced Sri Lanka. The hosts looked in fine fettle for the T20 World Cup in Australia, scheduled for later in the year, though the prospects for the Sri Lankans seemed less rosy. "The coaching staff and players have got some serious work to do in terms of game plans, match awareness and playing the big moments," said coach Mickey Arthur.
Sri Lanka had stepped in, after Zimbabwe, originally expected to tour, were briefly suspended by the ICC. They had been encouraged when a callow squad won 3-0 in Pakistan in October, but that was followed by a whitewash in Australia, and this was another tough assignment they failed to negotiate. There were a few promising performances to encourage Arthur, but not much more.
With one eye on a busy programme, India rested vice-captain Rohit Sharma and fast bowler Mohammed Shami. It merely underlined the riches at their disposal. Delhi seamer Navdeep Saini was Player of the Series, and prospered thanks as much to his variations as his pace; his five wickets were matched by Shardul Thakur. Jasprit Bumrah appeared for the first time since India's tour of the Caribbean in August 2019 and, after a rusty start, finished the series close to his best. K. L. Rahul, opening in Sharma's absence, made two important contributions.
A short tour was further abbreviated when the first game in Guwahati was abandoned: water had run on to the pitch from the covers, and the groundsmen could not salvage it in the wintry evening conditions, despite deploying irons and hairdryers. Sri Lankan highlights were sparse. At Pune, left-arm wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan took three wickets, and Dhananjaya de Silva made their only half-century of the series. In the same match, Angelo Mathews played his first T20 international since August 2018, and reminded everyone he was far from a spent force by hitting 31 off 20 balls.