India will attempt their Test revival in Sri Lanka on Wednesday at Galle Stadium. India did not see any Test series victory on foreign shore since the 2011 World Cup. Their only Test win came at Lords in 2014, lost 2-0 to Australia and the one off Test in Bangladesh ruined by rain. Since the 2011 World Cup India have had to go through the transition phase as three of their senior players – Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar bid adieu to game’s longest format. India young guns have showed the potential, but they are yet to show consistency of their predecessor.
In England, India started the five match series well as they forced England to draw the first Test, then in the Lord’s Test Ishant Sharma’s brilliant spell wrecked havoc on the England batting lineup which helped India to win the Test after 25 years of wait at the historic ground. Since that Test, India slumped to a historic low.
India got one more chance to win another Test in between in Adelaide, but the in-expreinced India squandered the chance and went on to lose 2-0 at the hands of Australia 2-0. Then Stand-in captain Virat was looking solid after scoring century, but he played one reckless shot that took the match away from India.
In Bangladesh, Indian batsman Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane were good. But, Virat Kohli is yet to find his form since the Australia tour.
With Team Director Ravi Sashtri saying that it is time to get back to the winning ways as their learning phase is over. So, Virat Kohli lead India have to prove their calibre to win Test series on foreign soil. Now, the qestion is: On this spinning pithces of Sri Lanka who will help India to win this series?
Here are five cricketers who could win the Test series in Sri Lanka after more than two decades:
The lanky 26 year old bowler has performed well in the warm up match where he took five wickets for 23 runs. Ishant started his career with a bang in Australia, but he has been too inconsistant with the red ball in hand. He helped India to win at Lord’s after 25 years picking up seven wickets in the second innings. India need a Ishant who could consistantly help India to pick up twenty wickets along with other bowlers to win Test.
The turbanator will be under pressure to perform as it could be his last series if he fails to perform. In his come back Test in Dakha he was not up to the expectation. But, he could be Virat Kohli’s prime weapon in spin depertment along with R Ashwin to win the Test series. Harbhajan has so far played 18 mathces in Sri Lanka in last one decade, took 52 wickets. So, he knows the Sri Lanka better than anyone.
This series will be acid Test for him. This series will challenge his cricket brain. The run machine since the Adelaied Test has been going through a run-dry of his career. So, he has to perform where Sri Lankan spinners will also challenge his batting technique to handle spinners at rough pithces. One more thing, nobody will sledge Virat in Sri Lanka, so he have to motivate himslef to back India on winning track.
The 27 year old batsman with flawless tecnique is yet to flourish in the longest format of the game. He was not picked for the Dakha Test since the failure in Australia. He has the habit to play long innings. Pujara never played in any Asian country other than India. He has two double hundreds on Indian soil and 153 at Johannesburg, South Africa. However, his performance is not up to the mark in foreign soil. The Sri Lankan pithces resembles Indian pithces, so he will be have to utilize the opportunity given by the selectors.
He is ruled out from the first Test at Galle due to niggle. Vijay is the only player who consistently performing for India in every wicket around the world. His career average is 41.75 in 32 mathces. But, he has astonishing averages in foreign shore, 60.25 in Australia, 90 in Bangladesh, 40.20 in England. So, his absence is indeed a set back for India. However, he will be keen to be fit to make the playing eleven for rest of the series.