The third and final encounter of the limited-overs series between India and Sri Lanka is scheduled to be held at the MCA Cricket Stadium, Pune. While the first match at Guwahati was abandoned without a ball being bowled, India easily went past the Sri Lankan total and won the match by 7 wickets in the second T20I at Indore.
The third contest thus becomes a crucial one. While India would look to win the match and start the new year with a series win, Sri Lanka would look to level the series. The Indian team is expected to take the field without any changes to their winning XI.
India and England had faced each other for the first time in Pune
Notably, India and England were up against one another in the first T20I at this venue. The touring side had to face a defeat by 5 wickets in that match. That match that was played on 20 December 2012 saw England make 5 for 157 runs batting first but India reached the target quite comfortably just 5 wickets down. Yuvraj Singh of India had played a crucial knock of 38 runs of 21 deliveries. Yuvraj was also adjudged the Player of the Match for his innings.
India and Sri Lanka had met here in 2016
The second T20I at this venue was played on 9 February 2016 between India and Sri Lanka and it was the visiting Sri Lankan team that had emerged the victorious team on that occasion. The mighty Indian batting order including the likes of Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh had collapsed big time and India had managed only 101 runs batting first. Thus, the records clearly show that teams that have batted first have had a miserable record at this venue.
Toss could be crucial
The toss could thus play an important role, keeping in mind the due factor and the history of T20I games at this venue. Given that India prefers chasing and the Indian skipper himself is the chase master, if Virat wins the toss he would most likely elect to bowl first. The Sri Lankan skipper Lasith Malinga may also try the same in case he has the toss luck on Friday.