Nov 23, 2017
By MI Media
Despite rain affecting the play for most of the first two days of the first Test, India made sure they go into the second Test with a solid upper hand. Virat Kohli’s men will look to get back to winning ways in Nagpur to stamp their authority in this format. Sri Lanka came close to win their first Test on Indian shores, but it wasn’t meant to be. In fact, the hosts turned the tides around and came close to script a historic win.
The Indian batsmen struggled in the first innings and conceded a lead to the Lankans. Cheteshwar Pujara battled throughout to score a solid fifty and looked the only confident player. Suranga Lakmal looked extremely dangerous on a wicket which favoured the seamers. India fought back hard in the second innings and a magnificent century by Virat Kohli on the final day gave the hosts a chance of a comeback. The Indian bowlers then made the Lankan batsmen to dance to their tunes, as Bhuvneshwar Kumar rattled through the Sri Lankan batting line-up. Eventually, bad light and grit shown by the lower order made sure the game was drawn but it was India who will carry the momentum.
Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been released from the Indian squad due to personal reasons. Dhawan will be back for the third Test while Bhuvneshwar, the Man of the Match in the Kolkata Test, will be tying the knot later this week and is set to miss the series. Vijay Shankar has been added to the squad and the veteran Ishant Sharma will be back to bolster the Indian bowling line-up. They faltered in the second innings under pressure and the Lankans will have to bat well on the Nagpur wicket. A green track is expected once again in Nagpur, so the Lankan seamers will be up for it once again.
Sri Lanka were written off before the series, but they played well in the first Test and showed they are here to compete against the hosts at the highest level. The performance on the final day must have instilled confidence in the Indian camp and the hosts will go for nothing less than a win. It’s now over to Nagpur to see what’s in store in the second Test of the series.
Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur
The Nagpur wicket shares an infamous past. The last Test here against South Africa favoured the spinners completely whereas the 2004 game against Australia produced a green top. It could be a green top once again as India look to prepare for the South African series, but it will be interesting to see how the pitch behaves.
Cheteshwar Pujara vs Suranga Lakmal:
The Indian number 3 used his experience on how to bat under difficult circumstances. He was up against a dangerous Suranga Lakmal but battled his way through. The Lankan seamer will look to keep Pujara silent this time.
Virat Kohli vs Rangana Herath:
The Indian skipper breezed through a superb second innings century and looked in great touch. Rangana Herath, considering an experienced player could have made things difficult for Virat Kohli. Expect a close battle between these two.
Dinesh Chandimal vs Mohammed Shami:
Dinesh Chandimal was dismissed in his 20s both times in the first Test. He gave away his starts and fell prey to Mohammed Shami. The Indian pacer would look to repeat his heroics to make things difficult for the Sri Lankan skipper.