Tomorrow’s T20 International at the R Premadasa Stadium in Khettarma, Colombo represents last orders at the last chance saloon for Sri Lanka.
Having lost their home Test series against India 3-0, and followed it up with a 5-0 drubbing in the ODI series that followed, the Lions are staring down the barrel of an unprecedented home cross-series whitewash by their northerly neighbours.
India will be string favourites such is the form they are in, and such is the malaise that Sri Lankan cricket finds itself in. Riddled by injury, suspension, and resignations of captains and selectors alike, this has not been a few weeks to remember for the islanders, and they must be looking forward to this portion of their season ending.
The only glimmer of hope is that they have had marginally more success in the shortest format of the game, having beaten admittedly weakened Australian and South African sides in recent times.
India by contrast are rampant, racking up all manner of records in the Tests and ODIs that preceded this game. If they do make it a 9-0 series clean-sweep, they will match a record set by Australia when they beat Pakistan by a similar margin across all three formats in 2010.
History between the sides in this format doesn’t bode well for Sri Lanka either – of the ten games played, India lead 6-4, whilst their hosts have never beaten India at home.
So plenty to play for – a record and a clean-sweep in the sights for the visitors, while the Lions will be out to save their pride.
From an individual player persepective, its no surprise that India’s two superstars will be the ones to keep watch of:
Virat Kohli (India)
India’s supreme leader and inspirational batsman plays his 50th T20 International in Colombo.
He currently sits in fifth place in the all-time T20I run-makers list with 1748 runs to his name. 32 runs will see him leapfrog Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad into fourth place, while a score of 59 will see him move one notch higher to third, past New Zealand opener Martin Guptill.
MS Dhoni (India)
Fresh from breaking Kumar Sangakkara’s world ODI stumping record with his 100th such dismissal in the last ODI (also his 300th game in that format), former captain Dhoni has more dismissal and appearance records in his sights.
This will be MS’s 78th T20 International game, moving him up into joint fifth place all-time, alongside Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez.
In this format, Dhoni has racked up 66 dismissals – 43 catches and 23 stumpings. Four more will see him move to 70, and enough for a share of the world record with South African megastar AB de Villiers.