The crucial third and final Test match between India and Sri Lanka is all set to begin on 28th of August. The series is levelled at 1-1 after a terrific comeback by the Indian side in the second Test match. With just two days left before the start of the Test match both the teams would be eyeing to give their best shot to clinch the series. Indian players were seen hitting the badminton courts and have kept themselves relaxed before the start of the final Test.
The most concerning factor for the Indian side is the injury blow to their in-form openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay. Shikhar Dhawan’s injury in his hand and Murali Vijay’s hamstring injury have ruled them out of the series. Wriddhiman Saha also suffered a hamstring blow which will cost India even more as India will miss his wicket-keeping duties. Karun Nair and Naman Ojha has been called as the replacements in the Squad. Although they have been added to the squad their presence in the playing eleven is doubtful.
Let’s look at the possible combinations ahead of the third Test match:
With openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan ruled out, it’s a golden opportunity for Cheteshwar Pujara to make merry. The Indian skipper Virat Kohli has made his intentions clear of making Pujara as the opener along with KL Rahul. Both the players will be looking to impress the selectors and the Indian management as their place in the side is not secured permanently as far as yet. With KL Rahul opening the innings, the possible player to keep wickets would be Naman Ojha.
Possible team playing eleven: KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Naman Ojha, Stuart Binny, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
Although, Rahane’s promotion to no.3 has been pretty successful, sending back Rohit to no.3 option can be quite handful for India as Rahane has the capability to bat around the tail and has done exceedingly well at no.5 with the tail in foreign conditions. Rohit Sharma’s lack of patience can get the better of him in Tests, especially with the tail. Therefore, India can look into sending Rohit at no.3.
Possible team playing eleven: KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Naman Ojha, Stuart Binny, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
Although the spinners have done most of the damage in the first two Test matches, there is not much of a purchase for the faster bowlers. Kohli could reassess his five bowler strategy as it didn’t play much of a role in the previous two Test matches. Going in with six batsman and four bowlers is more than enough for India as it is the most comfortable combination when it comes to sub-continent conditions. India might also look to stick with KL Rahul as the wicket-keeper as he was the one who did the duties after Saha’s injury.
Possible team playing eleven: KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Naman Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.