Ind Vs SL: Eyeing to give a tough fight to formidable India, Sri Lanka, however, would be high on confidence after doing well in the two-day practice match against Board President’s XI last week, in a bid to acclimatize to the conditions.
A struggling Sri Lanka is all set to play the first Test of the three-match series at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata which is beginning from November 16.
On the other side, Indian Vice-captain has already briefed to the media by saying that they won’t show any complacency towards Lanka which according to him could be a tricky situation for the hosts.
With Islanders giving their best in the practice session since they landed in Kolkata, the players are confident enough to come good against a side which has witnessed the return of spin duo in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who were rested owing to the rotational policy entailed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC), in order to oversee and maintain the workload of the senior campaigners.
As Dinesh Chandimal-led side was over the moon for playing the competitive cricket in the two-match Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, before miserably failing to deliver and eventually saw them going down the hill in the limited-overs series against the Men in Green.
Methodically, Sri Lanka players did well against unpredictable Pakistan team which thoroughly played poor cricket, but come this Thursday it is entirely different Test series against World Number One Test side which has gone from strength to strength and the Lions have the capability to sprung a surprise or so.
Precisely, the hosts led by Virat Kohli are the firm favourites, as struggling Lions would be eyeing to salvage some pride after 9-0 scoreline at home earlier which included a 3-0 whitewash while donning the white jersey.
After registering 411 for eight in 88 overs against BPXI, Sri Lanka witnessed batsmen were good enough against the spin ploy led by Sanju Samson, but Kohli’s team India is aware of the strength and weakness of the team, as
Interestingly, Sri Lanka is yet to win the Test match in India, as the visitors played 17 Tests in India in which India won seven and seven ended on no result.
Since the first Test way back in 1982, India and Sri Lanka played 42 Tests in which India won 19 and Lankans register seven wins which further saw hosts winning percentage of 46.34 after 15 Tests were drawn.
As were are a few hours away until the first Test will kick off, here we are focusing who can make it to the Playing XI from Sri Lanka — to wrestle against hosts India which would be definitely a daunting challenge for the visitors.
(Read Further: India vs Sri Lanka 1st Test: Match Prediction)
The youngster might find it difficult to face the ace spinners in India, but the opening batsman has shown a lot of promise in the domestic cricket to caught the attention of the Sri Lanka Cricket selectors.
The 22-year-old right-handed batsman was the top-scorer for Sri Lanka in the warm-up fixture against Board President’s XI. He scored 74 off 77 balls which included 13 boundaries.
The opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne has been the Man of the Series for Sri Lanka against Pakistan and he is the man to shoulder the responsibility at the top for Sri Lanka. He has been satisfied with the way he batted for Lanks when they were struggling in the past.
The left-handed batsman Karunaratne has featured in 44 Test for Lanka. And in the practice game, he smashed a fifty before facing yet another stern Test with the red cherry.
Even though the promising left-handed batsman is averaging 23.11 in 27 Tests so far, what makes him interesting in the longer version of the game is his knack for playing longer innings.
Thirimanne would be aiming to make most out of this opportunity after visitors already saw promising prospect Kushal Mendis been omitted from the squad. The 28-year-old batsman could play a significant role for Lanka owing to his ability to adapt and soak the pressure.
Definitely, without any doubt skipper, Dinesh Chandimal would be under pressure, but he has been appointed a leader certainly for his qualities.
Banking on his strength, the right-handed batsman Chandimal is averaging 42.46 in 41 Tests and has been working on to plug in loopholes and gelling the unit well.
However, the time will decide whether he would have any chance to claim the sorcery like he claimed after routing Pakistan.
Chandimal is bound to play the imperative role and lead as an example in the about to happen series.
The batting all-rounder and former Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews would be a man to watch out for in the impending Test series.
The injury-marred Mathews has an immense potential to change the complexion of the game, but he has been failing to keep himself fit from time-to-time which further saw him missing out on three-Test series on the trot.
With his return, the Sri Lankan team would be more balanced and his experience is expected to benefit the side.
Mathews is averaging 44.93 in 69 Tests with seven-hundred and 27 fifties under his belt.
The wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella seems in a good shape for Lanka at the moment. He has practically become the first-choice gloveman for Sri Lanka which further saw him playing 12 Tests in which he registered seven fifties.
Vocal while donning the gloves to cheer-up bowlers, Dickwella has a huge task on his shoulders behind the stumps.
Had a tossup with Dhananjaya de Silva for the wrist spinner and the reason for picking left-arm chinaman Lakshan Sandakan is solely about his ability to move the ball either way which further makes him quite interesting prospect owing to the lesser-known commodity.
As hosts are known for playing spin well, the 26-year-old bowler Sandakan could spring a surprise following his skills and mighty impressive control over the ball.
Sandakan played seven Tests for Sri Lanka in which he bagged 20 wickets.
The left-arm orthodox spinner Rangana Herath has been prominent face with the ball for Sri Lanka, who was the chief architect with the ball against Pakistan recently.
Moreover, the experienced campaigner has to nurse youngsters.
The 39-year-old claimed 405 wickets in 85 Tests at the average of 27.83. He has 33 five-wicket haul and nine 10-wicket-haul under his belt.
Suranga Lakmal has been an integral part of Sri Lanka and seeing him as an experienced campaigner he would certainly like to leave an impact early on.
The 30-year-old Matara-born bowler Lakmal played 39 Tests in which he collected 88 wickets. However, with just two wickets under his belt against Pakistan in two Tests, Sri Lanka is counting on Lakmal to yield the desired results.
His height might not be that effective in the subcontinent wickets, but his ability and control over the ball have had a lot on an offer.
Another promising 26-year-old bowler Vishwa Fernando adds the variety in the fast bowling line-up for Sri Lanka. The left-arm bowler has played two Test for Sri Lanka as the visitors are looking forward to build up a team while investing in the fresh professionals.
The fast bowler has a lot to prove in the neighbouring country, Lahiru Gamage would be eagerly-waiting to prove himself as a bowler against the top-class batting line-up which
The 29-year-old new-ball bowler Gamage, who has just played a solitary Test against Pakistan, is expected to make it to the playing XI following his impression with the ball.
Out: Roshel Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dilruwan Perera