Dhoni plans more experiments as India chase series win


MS Dhoni is planning more experiments like the one that saw Hardik Pandya promoted to five in the victorious second Twenty20 international as India seek a series win over Sri Lanka on Sunday.

Having lost the first encounter in Pune by five wickets, India flexed their muscle with the bat in the second match in Ranchi as they scored 196-6 en route to a 69-run triumph.

It was a classy performance by an India side looking to build momentum ahead of hosting the World Twenty20, which starts next month.

Dhoni took the opportunity to take a closer look at Pandya at five in that match and he responded with a quickfire 27 off 12.

And captain Dhoni is contemplating more experiments in Visakhapatnam, saying: "It was an opportunity for him [Pandya] to see international cricket closely.

"This is what he is known for. He can go in and play the big shots straightaway. 

"We would like to give every player some kind of batting so that going into the T20 World Cup everyone has some kind of exposure when it comes to batting."

Dhoni also plans to afford more time at the crease to middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh, who India have struggled to find a place in the order for due to having a settled top four.

He added: "Yuvi is slotted in at number five. It is difficult to get him to bat at a higher position than that because the top four - we have the openers, number three is Virat Kohli, number four is Suresh Raina. 

"We wish to give him more batting but at the same time I know it is difficult for him to go and straight away start hitting in the 17th or 18th over."

Having starred on a greener wicket in Pune, Sri Lanka's bowlers largely toiled in the second T20, although Thisara Perera's 19th-over hat-trick was a rare bright note.

"I didn't know that it was a hat-trick, because that time my concentration was about my death bowling," Perera said. "My team-mates told me I got a hat-trick."

Sri Lanka will need more from their top order to seal a confidence-boosting series win ahead of the World T20, with their top three failing to score higher than two.

But Perera is also aware the bowlers must limit India's batsmen.

"You don't lose a match because of one reason. India batted well and took the score to almost 200. And then we lost the momentum," he added. 

"In fact, they took away the match in the first six overs."