Unchanged for the series-decider, India won the toss and opted to bat first in the final match of the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka at Rajkot on Saturday.

Hardik Pandya-led India will have their task cut out to make sure they keep their bilateral record in the format at home clean against their Asian neighbours after losing the second T20I at Pune by 16 runs.

Meanwhile, Dasun Shanaka and Co, are high on confidence after bouncing back against the hosts and levelling the series 1-1. They have an opportunity to dismantle that record and register a series win in India before they move on to the more important task - the ODI series set to begin on January 10.

Sri Lanka had one change, however, with Avishka Fernando replacing Bhanuka Rajapaksa.

After winning the toss, Pandya said, “Looks like a good track, the last time we played here, the ball did a bit, we might get more swing in the night. I don’t drag things (speaking about the last match), we just need to focus on playing good cricket in this game. We were not at our best in the last game, but we still stretched the match until the end.”

Shanaka, adding that he would have opted to bat first as well, said, “We wanted to set the tone upfront. We will approach the same way in this game.”

India handed debuts to Shivam Mavi and Shubman Gill in the first T20I while Sanju Samson’s injury in Mumbai while fielding opened the doors for Rahul Tripathi to make his debut in the second T20I. All three of them keep their places for the decider. Arshdeep Singh also made his return in the second T20I after missing the first match due to illness. However, he had an outing to forget as he bowled five of the seven no-balls bowled in the match. He will be keen to bounce back as well.

As per BCCI match center, the average score here at this venue is 167. In the 16 domestic and international matches played at this venue since 2019, 10 times the teams have opted to bat first but the results have favoured the teams (10 times) bowling first.


Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis(w), Avishka Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka(c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka

India: Ishan Kishan(w), Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Rahul Tripathi, Hardik Pandya(c), Deepak Hooda, Axar Patel, Shivam Mavi, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal