Sri Lanka last toured India for a Twenty20 series in 2017 and they were whitewashed 3-0. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The Sri Lanka cricket team arrived in Guwahati for the first Twenty20 International under tight security on Thursday. The Sri Lankan team headed straight to the team hotel while members of the Indian team are expected to arrive in batches on Friday for the series opener. Assam had witnessed widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in December, which affected Ranji and U-19 matches at the domestic level because of curfew. Some Indian Super League football games were also postponed in Guwahati. However, Assam Cricket Association officials have said the situation is normal and about 27,000 tickets of the 39,500-capacity Barasapra Stadium has already been sold out.
"Situation is absolutely normal now and tourism is back in the state. We are hosting Khelo India Games from January 10 and about seven thousand players will participate. It's now safe as any other place in the country. The state government is looking after the security arrangement and there's no issue at all," ACA secretary Devajit Saikia told PTI.
Angelo Mathews is all set to make a comeback in Twenty20 Internationals after a period of sixteen months after he was included in the Sri Lanka side for the three-match Twenty20 International series against India starting on January 5 in Guwahati. Mathews, who last played a Twenty20 International in August 2018 against South Africa at the R Premadasa stadium, has been plagued by injuries in the last couple of years and that has primarily seen him develop into a batsman and less of a bowler. Mathews has not played any form of Twenty20s since the game against South Africa in which he was dismissed for a duck.
The 32-year-old will be part of seven specialist batsmen included in the squad which sees no Nuwan Pradeep and will be led by Lasith Malinga. Pradeep is out injured and has been replaced by Kasun Rajitha, who had originally been left out of the squad. Shehan Jayasuriya misses out from that squad, and allrounder Dhananjaya de Silva is the other addition apart from Mathews.
India and Sri Lanka have clashed eight times in India with the hosts winning six and Sri Lanka winning two. Their first win came in Nagpur in 2009 when the visitors won by 29 runs while their next win came on a seaming wicket in Pune by five wickets. Overall, India hold a 11-5 advantage over Sri Lanka in Twenty20 Internationals with India winning eight out of their last 10 encounters against Sri Lanka.