With the series already in India’s arsenal, one can expect the visitors to play a fearless brand of cricket, that has often been associated with the team for quite a while now.
Virat Kohli as a captain has taken gigantic strides in statistically stemming up his class among the greatest captains of all time. In a span of just 27 Tests, Kohli has an amazing tally of 18 wins. That number can easily go up to 19 at Kandy, considering how ruthless India has been so far.
The visitors, however, will miss the services of suspended all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, after the Man of the Match of the second Test was found guilty of accumulating significant demerit points on grounds of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct.
However, it will be imperative to go with the best XI and below, is the predicted XI for the third Test at Kandy.
- Shikhar Dhawan:
Having missed out in the second Test, Dhawan will be itching to make amends at Kandy in the third Test. Despite getting a start, Dhawan was out sweeping for 35 and if he is to prolong his career any longer, the southpaw needs another big score at the soonest. If the track remains batting friendly, expect Dhawan to be at his best again.
- KL Rahul:
Rahul has made it a good habit of scoring half-centuries at will. However, this is where the concerning aspect creeps in, as the Karnataka opener has six half-centuries in his last six innings, but not a single three digit score. All he needs to do is, work on his mindset, and the centuries will come sooner than later.
- Cheteshwar Pujara:
With three tons in as many games in Sri Lanka, the odds of Pujara making it four out of four in Sri Lanka are quite high. India’s best batsman in Tests undoubtedly, Pujara has excelled colossally in the last 12 months and his growing stature as the team’s backbone is a pleasing sight. If he gets in, it’s just a matter of time before he piles up another massive century.
- Virat Kohli (c):
Skipper Virat Kohli remains in the limelight every now and then. If not with the bat, Kohli grabs eyeballs with his superlative captaincy tactics. However, after missing out at Colombo, the Indian run machine will be upbeat to play a big knock at Kandy and repeat his show of the second innings of the Galle Test. Knowing him, Kohli scoring up a double ton shouldn’t be a surprise of any sorts.
- Ajinkya Rahane:
The India vice captain has endured a great series so far after a lean home season not so long ago. In two Tests, Rahane has a half-century and a daddy ton to his credit. The Mumbai batsman has looked all at ease so far and his counter attacking batting without taking any serious risk contributes greatly to his success.
- R. Ashwin:
From the all round front, this series has been an absolute success for R. Ashwin. He has been among the wickets, taking a five fer in the previous game and also among the runs. With a half-century and a knock in the 40’s to his name, Ashwin has proved to be the X factor of this young and energetic team.
- Wriddhiman Saha (wk):
Saha was simply exceptional in the Colombo Test as apart from raking up a rapid half-century, his keeping stood out. Saha might not be as acrobatic as Quinton De Kock, but when it comes to certainty and a safe pair of hands behind the stumps, Saha is the very best wicketkeeper in the world at present.
- Hardik Pandya:
The intentions of the Indian think tank are crystal clear indeed, as one can deduce that Pandya is being groomed for the upcoming round of overseas tours. Skipper Kohli sees an Indianized version of Ben Stokes in him, but for that to happen, he must bat higher up the order and bowl far more overs than he actually is. It’s ideal to give him some time in the middle at Kandy.
- Kuldeep Yadav:
Probably the biggest find for India this year, Kuldeep has been an absolute gem for this side. Just one Test match old, Kuldeep has already made a name for himself, as his match turning spell in the Dharamshala Test against Australia helped India clinch the series. He can run through the Sri Lankan side at will if he finds his groove.
- Mohammad Shami:
Shami has been fantastic with the new ball in this series, picking up wickets right up front and his accuracy has stood out. Despite talks of resting him being around, he should be persisted and given as much match practice as possible.
- Umesh Yadav:
Yadav has been India’s unsung hero for the last 12-15 months, bowling up super charged up spells and turning the tide on the opposition. His spells might not be too inclining in numbers, but his impact has been top notch in rattling the opposition batsmen.