Another stern test awaits Lanka

Plot:

Sri Lanka will be touring India with the aim of avenging a painful 9-0 whitewash in their backyard, across formats. They are back again for another full series which consists of three Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is. The first Test will start on 16th November at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. India, the number one ranked side in Test cricket will have to however be on their guard and not allow complacency to creep into their game. The Men in Blue will aim to be ruthless, just like they were in Sri Lanka earlier this year, whereas the Lankans will be gunning for revenge after their horror show at home against the Indians.

Sri Lanka have played 17 Tests in India, but haven’t emerged victorious in any of them. Dinesh Chandimal's side have a daunting task at hand but they will back themselves to put up a strong fight. They might be having a poor record in 2017, but they are heading into this series on the back of a 2-0 Test series win against Pakistan in the UAE, where the best teams have struggled in the past. It was Pakistan's first series loss in their adopted home in the last 15 years, which will be a massive boost for the Lankans. Although the conditions will be quite similar in India, playing here is a different challenge altogether.

Virat Kohli will eye nothing less than to play ruthless cricket. The spin twins Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin will be back to torment the Lankans. Mohammed Shami & Umesh Yadav - the Test specialists have been on the rise and would look to make things difficult with the new ball.

Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan will take the opening role duties. Team India also have a formidable middle order. With the sensational form that he is in, Rohit Sharma might be given a chance to bat at number 6 to strengthen the batting order. He will look to replicate his limited overs form to the longest format. Since Hardik Pandya has been given a rest, it will be interesting to see whether India will go ahead with three spinners and two pacers, or include another seamer. Considering that the Eden Gardens track favours the seamers nowadays, coupled with Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s recent form, Team India will probably include him to make it a three-pacers attack. If given a chance, Kuldeep Yadav will look to cement his spot after a successful year so far.

The usual talk between the two sides is the frequency with which these neighbouring countries take on each other. In the last 10 years, India have faced Sri Lanka 60 times in ODIs, 22 more times than they have faced the next best opposition. Team India will be the overwhelming favourites in the series and would look to leave no stone unturned. Will the Lankans be able to put up a strong fight and give Team India a run for their money? It remains to be seen!

Stage:

Eden Gardens, Kolkata

The iconic Indian venue will host the first Test of the series. The pitch usually favours the pacers now so Team India might go in with the three fast bowlers option. Eyes will also be on Rohit Sharma as the venue has been kind to him in the recent years.

Acts:

Cheteshwar Pujara vs Rangana Herath:

The Indian number 3 is one of the best batsmen against spin. Rangana Herath, the wily spinner has a terrific record in Test cricket, but has faltered against India. His worst average is against India and he will be eyeing to improve his numbers. Cheteshwar Pujara will look to keep Herath silent yet again.

Shikhar Dhawan vs Suranga Lakmal:

The Indian southpaw had a brilliant series against Sri Lanka a few months back. Runs flowed easily off his bat and he will be looking to target Suranga Lakmal early on. The Lankan pacer will have a plan or two of his own against the opener. It should be an interesting battle between these two.

Virat Kohli vs Lakshan Sandakan:

The Lankan chinaman knows he will be carrying a lot of responsibility when he will come out to bowl against the Indian skipper. Virat Kohli was dismissed once against the chinaman when he played one away from his body. Sandakan needs to bring in a lot of plans if he’s looking to get the better of one of the best batsmen in the world cricket currently.

 

 


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