The third and the final match of the Cricbuzz Test Series between Sri Lanka and India is awaited by the cricketing fraternity not just because it is the title decider but also because of the future ahead for both India and Sri Lanka. After surrendering in the first test match, India came back well in the second test and leveled the series 1-1. After winning the first match under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, India will look to continue the winning run in the series decider and register the first series win in Sri Lanka after 22 years while the Sri Lankans will look to begin well in their new era after the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara. 

Know the Venue: Sinhalese Sports Club is one of the four Test venues in Colombo and the Headquarters of Sri Lankan Cricket. This venue is also called as the Lord’s of Sri Lanka.

The Historic SSC along with its scoreboard

Sri Lanka vs India: Head-to-Head:

Overall: India lead the Head-to-Head with 15-7 with 15 matches ending in a draw.

In Sri Lanka: In the 20 matches played in Sri Lanka, India has won only 5 while the hosts have won 7 with 8 matches ending in a stalemate.

Pitch and Weather: According to the meteorological department, it is expected to rain throughout the third Test match as well. The same forecast was predicted for the first two tests too but thankfully, the match was not interrupted by rain. The pitch at the SSC is expected to assist the batsmen and the spinners can be expected to get some turn of this pitch.

Statistics:

India

 

Sri Lanka

15

Head-To-Head

7

729-9 at Mumbai (CCI) in 2009

Highest Team Totals

952-6 at Colombo in 1997

112 at Galle in 2015

Lowest Team total

82 at Chandigarh in 1990

Sachin Tendulkar 1995 runs in 25 matches @ 60.45

Most runs by a batsman

Mahela Jayawardene1822 in 18 matches @ 67.48

Anil Kumble 74 wickets in 18 matches at 31.20

Most wickets by a bowler

Muttiah Muralitharan 105 wickets in 22 matches @ 32.61

Virender Sehwag 293 at Mumbai in 2009

Highest Individual Score

Sanath Jayasuriya 340 at Colombo in 1997

Muttiah Muralitharan 8-87 at Colombo in 2001

Best Bowling figures

Maninder Singh 7-51 at Nagpur in 1986

How long will Sri Lanka take to replace Kumar Sangakkara?

After putting a stunning display in the first Test at Galle, Sri Lanka surrendered in the second Test at the P. Sara Oval. The inexperienced Sri Lankan team will look to raise their game and seal the series 2-1. But they have a lot to worry as the young Lankan batsmen are struggling to find form against India’s spin attack. Both the openers Kushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne look shaky against the Indian spinners throughout the series.

It will be interesting to see who Lanka sends in at number 3. It was a position in which Kumar Sangakkara batted throughout his career and it would be a toss-up between Lahiru Thirimanne and Sangakkara’s replacement Upul Tharanga to bat at number 3. After the retirement of Mahela Jayawardene, the number 4 slot has been up for the grabs and no one of the batsmen made it their own. Mathews will have to take a big decision as far as the number 4 slot id concerned. Hero of the first match Dinesh Chandimal is a candidate for the slot along with either Tharanga or Thirimanne, but it would be better for the team if Mathews play at 4 followed by Chandimal. 

Angelo Mathewsneeds to bat up the order

Jehan Mubarak, who looks completely off-colour might leave a way for wicket-keeper Kusal Perera, who had a good time in the Sri Lankan domestic season. Sri Lankan bowling unit that comprises of Dhammika Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera, Rangana Herath and Tharindhu Kaushal did a great job for the hosts in the first match and the team management will expect them to come to the party once again and trouble the Indian batsmen.

On the other hand, India has several areas to address.  First of all, India will be missing two of their frontline openers for the third test and will go in with a third new opening combination in the three matches. After Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the tour because of a hairline injury ahead of the second test, Dhawan’s regular opening partner Murali Vijay has been ruled out tour after the second test due to a hamstring injury. So it has been confirmed that KL Rahul will be given the openers’ slot along with Cheteshwar Pujara.

Rohit Sharma has to prove his consistency after a good show in the second Test

More than the openers’ slot, the number 3 has been under the scanner for a while. Ever since the retirement of Rahul Dravid, Cheteshwar Pujara batted at number 3 and did justice to the role. But in the past one year, Pujara’s form has been on the decline and the team management has decided to give Rohit Sharma a go at the position. Rohit, who began his Test career with two consecutive tons against the West Indies has been asked to bat at the number 3 slot in three matches and scored just 1 fifty in 5 innings. He failed miserably in the first test as there were calls to drop Sharma out of the team and replace him with Pujara. But skipper Virat Kohli will persist with the talented right-hander in the playing XI and asked Ajinkya Rahane to bat at number 3 while Rohit was moved down to number 5 with Kohli batting at number 4. Eventually, both Rohit and Rahane batted well in the second test.

Binny, who had a decent outing in the second Test will retain his place and Naman Ojha will make his Test debut for India after Wriddhiman Saha was ruled out of the test due to injury. The team management is likely to retain the same bowling combination that played in the second test. Umesh Yadav will partner Ishant Sharma with the new ball while off-spinner R Ashwin and leggie Amit Mishra being the two spinners.

R Ashwin holds the key once again for India

Sri Lanka vs India: Preferred Playing Line-Ups:

India:  Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Naman Ojha, Stuart Binny, R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Silva, Tharindhu Kaushal, Dhammika Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera and Rangana Herath.

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