After 4 months of limited overs format cricket, India will take on Sri Lanka in the first test match at Galle International Stadium starting from tomorrow. Last time, Virat Kohli became the captain of Indian test team for the first full-fledged series during the 2015 series.
Losing the first test at Galle, the Indian team came back and won the test series 2-1, winning in Sri Lanka after a gap of 22 years. India are the top ranked test team since the last year. With Ravi Shastri as the coach of Indian team, the Virat Kohli led side would be looking to dominate the Sri Lankan side.
The Indian team will be missing the service of KL Rahul in the first test due to high fever. Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund would be the choice to open. Apart from that, the Indian team has a strong batting line up consisting of Pujara, captain Kohli, Rahane, Rohit, Saha. Both the openers must provide a solid start to the team so that the rest of the batsmen could build and post a huge total on the Sri Lankan batsmen. The pitch at Galle helps the spin bowlers, with three spinners, Virat Kohli might think of giving Kuldeep Yadav a chance in the playing XI.
Ravichandran Ashwin will be playing his 50th test match tomorrow. He has done well in Galle Stadium during the previous Sri Lanka taking 10 wickets in the match. It would be interesting to see which of the fast bowlers get a chance to feature in the playing XI. Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya are the options from which Virat Kohli has to choose.
As far Sri Lanka is concerned, experienced Ragana Herath will captain in the absence of Dinesh Chandimal. In the previous test match, Sri Lanka chases down 388 against Zimbabwe. The batting line up comprises of Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunathe, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Nirsohan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Gunathilka. These batsmen need to play with positive intent and put pressure on the Indian bowlers.
Nuwan Pradeep has made a comeback into the test team while young Kumara, Surgana Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando, Malinda Pushpakumara completes the fast bowling line up. Hearth and Dilruwan Perera are the two spinners which have the capacity to trouble the strong Indian batting line up. The Sri Lankan team are currently 7th in the latest test rankings. They need to play great cricket to trouble the Indian team.
It is going to be interesting series. The Indian team is strong on paper but the Sri Lankan team could be taken lightly at home.
Before the eve of a first test match, Virat Kohli said KL Rahul, unfortunately, is down with the flu. He is a very established player for us and has done well for us in the past.
Talking about Hardik Pandya, Kohli said he is a wicket taking bowler. Every game he plays on any surface, he has a knack of picking wickets.
Talking about team spirit, Kohli said: Bond in the team is very strong that makes me very proud. Besides cricket that’s the most special thing about this team. Be it loss or win, this team remains strong.