India look to strengthen Kotla record

Plot:

After beating the Lankans by an innings, Team India continue to dominate them in this format. The hosts have been totally ruthless, and they are winning matches comprehensively. The last few wins have been either by an innings or by 300-plus runs, and that shows India’s recent record against Sri Lanka. The hosts will eye nothing less than this in the third and final Test and clinch the series 2-0 in Delhi, where they have an impressive record.

It was a collective failure for Sri Lanka in the second Test. They were batting first and failed to post a reasonable total on the board, that too on a deck which looked good to bat on. The batsmen didn’t apply themselves and the Indian bowlers clicked as a unit. The spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja scalped 7 wickets between them and showed they are still a threat on such wickets. India batted extremely well and posted a mammoth total on the back of Virat Kohli’s double ton and centuries by Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay and Rohit Sharma. It was a terrific all-round effort by the hosts and they will look to repeat their magnificent performance to take the series 2-0.

The only concern India have right now is Ajinkya Rahane’s form. The middle order batsman hasn’t really impressed at home surprisingly, but has been a dependable asset when India play abroad. He would look to improve his numbers in Delhi where he scored twin centuries against South Africa a couple of years ago. Since 2000, Kotla has been a hunting ground for the spinners, as they average just over 28 whereas the pacers concede more than 40 runs per wicket. For Sri Lanka, it’s the conversion rate that is troubling them. They have had six 50-plus scores but none of the batsmen have converted it so far and the highest individual score has been 67 and that was by Rangana Herath – a designated bowler. India’s batting average is more than double that of Sri Lanka’s in this series.

Rangana Herath is unlikely to play the third Test and the visitors have brought in Jeffrey Vandersay in their squad and should make his Test debut. Can the visitors turn it around at the Kotla and finish the series 1-1 by surprising everyone? Or will Team India continue with their winning run and clinch the series 2-0?

Stage:

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

The third and final Test will be played at Kotla which has been India’s most successful ground since 1988. India haven’t lost a single Test since then and have won 10 matches out of 11. It shows India’s dominance at this venue and Sri Lanka will have to go against all odds to script a historic comeback in this series. India might go in with an unchanged line-up, but they won’t rule out the chances of including an extra spinner at this venue.

Acts:

Cheteshwar Pujara vs Dilruwan Perera:

With Herath all set to miss the third Test, there will be additional responsibilities on Perera’s shoulders. He will be up against one of the best players of spin – Cheteshwar Pujara. The Indian number 3 will look to dominate the Lankan spinner by using his feet & running down the pitch to him.

Ravichandran Ashwin vs Dinesh Chandimal:

The Sri Lankan skipper hit twin fifties in the second Test, but ran out of partners to support him. He was dismissed by Ashwin in the first innings and he needs to lead from the front if Sri Lanka are to give a tough fight.

Murali Vijay vs Suranga Lakmal:

After an impressive first Test, Lakmal was wicket-less in the second game, although there was just one innings for him to bowl in, as Sri Lanka lost by an innings. He needs to bring out some tricks off his sleeves and not let Vijay settle down as once the Indian opener settles in, he usually scores big hundreds. It should be a riveting battle between these two.


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