Coming from a draw in the first Test at Eden Gardens, the men in blues will be eager to take a lead in the series when they take on Sri Lanka in the second Test scheduled to start from November 24 at Nagpur. India will be high on confidence after their fifth-day show in a rain-affected encounter as the bowlers were steaming in from both the ends and making the Sri Lankan batsmen uncomfortable at the fag end of the day. Earlier, Virat Kohli brought his 50th international century in the least number of matches.
With Shikhar Dhawan and the man of the match from the last match Bhuvneshwar Kumar opting out from the second Test citing personal reasons; it will be interesting to see who fits in the place of an in-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who will be tie knot on November 23. All-rounder from Tamil Nadu, Vijay Shankar has been called in as the replacement for Kumar, however, it is certain that Murali Vijay will replace Shikhar Dhawan in the first XI.
Here is the predicted first XI for the second Test at Nagpur:
Lokesh Rahul: The Karnataka born opening batsman has been consistently scoring runs in the longest format of the game. Getting out in the first innings by a gem of a delivery, he came back strong in the second innings and played a fluent knock of 79 runs to give India a solid start along with his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan. He will have to take additional responsibility in the second Test as his regular opening partner Dhawan opted out from the second due to personal reasons.
Murali Vijay: The right-handed opening batsmen have made a comeback after a long gap due to a wrist injury he sustained during the Australia series earlier this year. With an unexpected opportunity coming his way after Dhawan opted out, he will be keen on making a mark to cement his place in the Test team. Off late, he has been in good form as he played a magnificent knock of 140 in the last Ranji Trophy game he played against Orissa.
Cheteshwar Pujara: The Test specialist once again proved his worth on a lively wicket at Eden Gardens holding one end tight as wickets tumbled on from the other side. Pujara has been the highest run-scorer for India in this format in the long home season that India played and the team management will certainly bank on him help India reach a good total.
Virat Kohli (C): The indispensable Virat Kohli played a classical knock to reach his 50th international hundred in India’s second innings when the team was in a spot of bother. The young and aggressive captain, who leads the team by an example will be eager to win this match to go one step forward to maintain his unbeaten record as a Test captain.
Ajinkya Rahane: The middle-order batsman from Mumbai will try to regain his old form after failing in both the innings at Kolkata. Rahane holds a key role in that middle-order and needs to step up on a regular basis. He will also be a key fielder for India in the slip region.
Ravichandran Ashwin: The off-spinning all-rounder is a crucial member of this Indian squad. Leading the bowling attack in the subcontinent along with Ravindra Jadeja, he is a prolific wicket-taker and a match winner for India. Not getting to bowl much in a pace friendly wicket at Eden, Ashwin will try and prove his worth in the upcoming match. Ashwin has been handy with the bat as well scoring some valuable runs as he has seen a promotion in the batting order.
Wriddhiman Saha (WK): The best man to have behind the wicket, Saha has grown in confidence after getting a regular opportunity in the team. Saha batted well in the first innings of the first match, scoring an important 29 runs when the team was struggling. With his gloves on, he is the best of the lot.
Ravindra Jadeja: The left-arm spinner is an integral part of the Test team and is a genuine match-winner with the ball. Along with his spinning partner Ashwin, he has won India many matches for quite some time now. the former no 1 Test bowler, who recently slipped to no 3 in the ICC Test bowler’s list who be keen to regain the top spot.
Mohammad Shami: The greatest exponent of reverse-swing bowling, Shami has been a regular performer for the Indian side. Possessing the capability to swing with both old and new ball, the right-arm fast bowler was terrific with the ball as he picked up six wickets in the match after Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He will lead the bowling attack of the Indian team in the second Test after Bhuvneshwar Kumar opted out.
Umesh Yadav: The right-arm quickie has been the most successful fast bowlers for India in the long home season, troubling the batsmen with pace and swing on a consistent basis. However, he was a bit wayward in the first match and will have to take additional responsibility in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Ishant Sharma: The tall and lanky fast bowler, who was released from the squad during the first Test to play for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy will make a comeback in the first XI after Bhuvneshwar Kumar opted out. Sharma has had a good Ranji season so far and led Delhi to an important victory over Maharashtra by picking five wickets in the match.