Yet to lose a Test series under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, high-flying India will be looking to continue its dominance in Tests when they take on Sri Lanka in the first of the three-Test series, starting November 16 at the Eden Gardens.
With form on their side, Virat Kohli & Co. will enter the match as well as the series as the firm favourites. However, India cannot afford to be complacent against a team which is known for springing surprises now and then.
The Islanders got whitewashed at home against India a couple of months ago but bounced back in style to beat Pakistan in the United Arabia Emirates. Moreover, they recently made it clear that they mean business by displaying a strong batting show in the warm-up game against the Board President’s XI, slamming 411 in just 88 overs.
Well, only time will tell whether India steamrolls Sri Lanka or the visitors spring a surprise. So here we are taking a look at the team combination with which India can play the first Test.
1. KL Rahul:
While his form in the coloured jersey has not been up to mark, the same cannot be said about his run in the longest format of the game. Rahul has cemented his place as an opener in Tests and will be looking to continue his impressive streak in the forthcoming Test against Sri Lanka. The Karnataka star has scored eight fifties in his last eight Test innings.
2. Murali Vijay:
After missing the Test series in Sri Lanka due to a wrist injury, Murali Vijay is likely to be drafted back in the playing eleven. In his absence, Shikhar Dhawan had made the most of the opportunity against Sri Lanka, finishing the series as the highest run-getter, but given the team’s policy of including the regular players straight in the first eleven after an injury, Vijay is looking likely to get the nod ahead of Dhawan.
3. Cheteshwar Pujara:
After starring with the bat in the last home season when he finished the 13-Test home season as the highest run-scorer for India, Pujara will be eyeing a solid start to the upcoming season. The Saurashtra batsman has also warmed up for the series in some style, slamming 204 and 182 runs in the last two Ranji Trophy games.
4. Virat Kohli (c):
Not only as a batsman, Kohli will also be eyeing to extend his impressive track record as the Test skipper. Team India is yet to lose a Test series under Kohli’s captaincy with the captain himself leading from the front. The in-form Kohli, meanwhile, will be looking to make amends for his horror show in the Test series against Australia which was India’s last series at home.
5. Ajinkya Rahane:
Rahane is also among runs, proving his worth in the limited opportunities he got during the ODI series against Australia. Will be eyeing a strong series against the Islanders.
6. Rohit Sharma:
With Hardik Pandya rested, Rohit Sharma is looking set to play his first Test since the Indore Test last year against New Zealand. Barring the series against the Kiwis, the right-handed batsman had missed the entire home season with a thigh injury. Meanwhile, if Rohit gets a place in the playing eleven, he could not have asked for a better venue than the Eden Gardens, a stadium where he has played several memorable knocks.
7. Wriddhiman Saha (wk):
A guaranteed starter, Wriddhiman Saha will also be looking to start the home season on a strong note both with the bat as well as the wicketkeeping gloves.
8. Ravichandran Ashwin:
After being surprisingly omitted from the limited-overs team in recent months, Ravichandran Ashwin will be eager to prove his worth in the forthcoming series.
9. Ravindra Jadeja:
Just like Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja had also fallen down the pecking order in limited-overs cricket but is an integral part of the Test team. He too will be eyeing a strong series to make a return to the ODI and T20I team.
10. Mohammed Shami:
With the match being held at his home ground, Shami will spearhead the pace attack and will be looking to make a big impression.
11. Umesh Yadav:
Umesh Yadav was one of India’s most impressive performers during the last home season, constantly troubling the opposition batsmen with his pace and swing. He too will be eyeing a strong start to the season.
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