Dress rehearsal before the Cup
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With just one more day left in their itinerary, their bags might be half-packed already but MS Dhoni & Co promise there will be no let up in the intensity or any lack of motivation to post another convincing victory in what has been an exceedingly successful Sri Lankan tour before they fly out of Colombo on Wednesday.
The 4-1 thrashing of the hosts subsequently helped World Champions climb up to No.2 in the ODI rankings but there's plenty of work still left for Team India in the shortest format. Despite being the winners of the inaugural World T20 back in 2007, and pioneers in transforming this format into a money-spinning extravaganza with the IPL, Team India have struggled to impose themselves in the international T20 circuit.
The Indian players end up playing more T20 cricket in a year than most, and many of them have already created enviable reputations in this action-filled format, the national team has won only half the internationals they've played since lifting the cup in 2007. Add two very forgettable outings at the last two World T20s — England in 2009 and the West Indies in 2010 — to their disappointing record of 15 wins out of 31 matches.
At the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, Dhoni & Co will have a chance to take their first step towards correcting that disparity as they take on the hosts in a solitary T20 international to wind up the tour. And though India will not be playing any of their games at this venue during the World T20, the match still holds good to act as an official warm-up for their return in September. And most importantly, the Pallekele game will be the only T20 game before the Indian selectors name the final squad for world T20 on August 18.
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