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Can India regain winning touch in Dhoni's backyard?

Last updated on: February 11, 2016 23:09 IST

MS Dhoni

IMAGE: India's MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina during a practice session in Ranchi. Photograph: PTI

Shocked by an inexperienced Sri Lankan side on a green wicket in the first Twenty20 match, India will aim to regain its winning touch and keep the series alive when they take on the island nation in the second match, in Ranchi, on Friday.

The Indians were taken aback by what skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni described as an ‘English’ track in the match in Pune.

Now that Dhoni will be playing in his own backyard before home fans, he can hope to get a typical sub-continent wicket at a ground that is hosting its first ever Twenty20 International.

India won two of the three One-dayers played in Ranchi and runs in the vicinity of 300 were scored in three innings. One match, against Australia, had no result.

Thus, a high-scoring game can be expected at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association International Stadium Complex.

However, there are concerns about the under-prepared outfield on which the fielders are expected to have a tough time.

The JSCA officials have argued that they got less time to prepare the ground and, as a result, many rough patches can be seen on the bald sand-based outfield.

Sri Lanka, with many inexperienced players in the side, have nothing to lose and will go all out to seal the series.

However, the job is easier said than done since the Indian batsmen are in good form and will be difficult to contain on a batting track.

The Sri Lankan pace trio of Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera and Dasun Shanaka made a good impression on a lively track in Pune but they will be tested in Ranchi.

In Australia, where India won 3-0, the Indian middle and lower order hardly got a chance to bat, courtesy supreme form of the top-order batsmen, but the collapse in Pune, where the batsmen did not respect the conditions and went for unmindful strokes on a seaming track, brought all of them to the crease.

Ravichandran Ashwin showed that by being little patient, India could have posted at least a fighting if not a defendable total on the board.

With the World Twenty20 around the corner, Dhoni will want his batsmen to respond to the conditions mindfully whether in India or in Asia Cup, preceding the big event, where they will enter as favourites.

More than anything, his own form is something which will be playing in his mind. The remaining two matches in this series and the subsequent Asia Cup is where he can get his mojo back before the World Twenty20.

His image as one of the best finishers of the game has taken a beating with repeated failures and to set things right his home ground is an ideal platform.

It will be good for India if Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuvraj Singh and Hardik Pandya get more overs under their belt before the World Cup.

Dhoni would also like to give pacers Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah more opportunities and it will be interesting to see if Bhuvneshwar Kumar gets a game.

With Ashwin doing a reasonably good job, Harbhajan Singh may have to sit out again.

T20 is a format where even small nations can topple established cricket forces since one or two good overs – in either bowling or batting -- can change the match situation quickly. And that makes it interesting to watch.

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Pawan Negi, Ashish Nehra, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harbhajan Singh.

Sri Lanka:

Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Dushmantha Chameera, Niroshan Dickwella, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Binura Fernando, Dilhara Fernando, Asela Gunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Chamara Kapugedera, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Kasun Rajitha, Senanayake, Dasun Shanaka, Milinda Siriwardana, Jeffrey Vandersay.

Match Starts at 1930 IST

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