India vs Sri Lanka 3rd T20I tip-off XI: Jitesh Sharma to make debut, Hardik to stick with Shubman, Harshal returns for Arshdeep

After eking out a narrow last-ball win in the opener, India fell short by 16-run defeat as Sri Lanka levelled the three-match series 1-1. India’s young gun will have to step up against an experience Sri Lanka team to win the series in Rajkot.

India is unlikely to make any changes for the series decider with head coach Dravid asserting “we are not going to be chopping and changing people too much.” As expected, Sri Lanka have given a solid fight to the hosts. The reigning Asia Cup champions came back strongly to level the series.

Indian Express argues the inclusion of Jitesh Sharma and Harshal Patel in India’s playing XI in the series decider.

Jitesh Sharma to make debut

Jitesh Sharma, who has replaced Sanju Samson in the squad might a get a look in the decider. If Jitesh gets his maiden cap then Rahul Tripathi might have to sit out. Jitesh Sharma was picked on the basis if his impressive performances for Punjab Kings in the IPL. Jitesh made his IPL debut in 2022 playing for Punjab Kings. Jitesh played 12 matches, scoring 234 runs at a strike rate of 163.63, with a highest of 44. He also scored 224 runs in ten matches at a strike rate of 175 in the 2022 edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Hardik to stick with Shubman

It is highly unlikely that Hardik Pandya will drop Shubman Gill at the top to get in Ruturaj Gaikwad. Shubman, who made his T20I debut in the series has failed to live upto his expectations and had managed only 7 and 5 in two innings. But given the fact, the stylish right-handed batter was immense in Gujarat Titans inaugural season under Pandya, he will play open with Ishan Kishan in Rajkot as well.

Harshal Patel for Arshdeep Singh

Left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh, who returned to the playing XI after a spell of injuries and bout of illness has bowled as many as five no balls in his two overs in the second T20I. He stepped over the line three times on the trot in his first over, making him the first India bowler to bowl hat-trick of no-balls in T20I. With Arshdeep still far from his best, it is highly likely that Harshal Patel, who played the first T20I might return to the playing XI.

IND vs SL Pitch report

The Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium hosted 14 Syed Musthaq Trophy matches in October. It was a mixed bag. Five first-innings produced scores of 170 or more and four of under 136. Nine of those matches were won by the chaser which is a hefty bias. In two isolated T20s in 2022 and 2019, India posted 169 against South Africa and Bangladesh 153. The hosts won both.

IND vs SL Predicted XI

India Predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya(C), Jitesh Sharma, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Shivam Mavi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umran Malik

Sri Lanka Predicted XI: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka(C), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Dasun Madushanka, Kasun Rajitha

IND vs SL Squads

India: Hardik Pandya (C), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav (VC), Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi and Mukesh Kumar.

Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (C), Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Mendis, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ashen Bandara, Maheesh Theekshana, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Kasun Rajitha, Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan, Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Thushara.

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