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SLvIND: Team India look to continue their good run against Sri Lanka in home Test series

After a humiliating 9-0 drubbing earlier this year against India, the wounded Lankan lions will look to salvage some pride. The Indians have been relentless in Test cricket in last 2 years and this is expected to be another boring, one-sided affair.

2017 has been quite contrasting for both the teams. The Indians have had victories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner whereas Lankans have lost 34 international matches this year which is most by any team in a calendar year surpassing Zimbabwe’s 32 in 2005. The last thing they could’ve asked for after a year like this is a series in India.

The first of 3 tests starts in Kolkata on November 16, 2017. The series moves to Nagpur and Delhi for next 2 tests. The ODIS will be played at Dharamshala, Mohali, Vizag on December 10, 13 and 17 respectively. The T20Is are penciled in on December 20, 22, 24 at Cuttack, Indore, and Mumbai. Rain threat looms over the first test at Kolkata for first 3 days.

The focus will be on:

Dinesh Chandimal: The only way Sri Lanka can put up some fight is by countering Jadeja and Ashwin. For that to happen Sri Lankan skipper has a huge role to play. He has his tasks cut out. He needs to score big hundreds on this tour.

Murali Vijay: Vijay has been out of cricket for a while after India’s grand home season. He missed the Sri Lankan tour due to injury and is making a comeback. Most likely he will play but with Shikhar Dhawan reinventing himself as test batsman with 2 hundreds in Sri Lanka, there is added pressure on Vijay. He has to score big to hold on to his place on the side.

Rangana Herath: The 40-year-old veteran is in the twilight of his career. A lot will depend on how Herath bowls in this series. If he can get his line and length right he could give Indians a taste of their own medicine.

Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav: We all know that Ashwin and Jadeja are India’s trump cards. But the contribution of fast bowlers is equally important. Shami and Umesh haven’t played much international cricket off late and will be interesting to see if any rustiness has taken effect.

India

India will look to field their usual test combination with chopping and change much. Hardik Pandya’s absence means Rohit is most likely to come in. However, Kohli might think of playing an extra bowler (Bhuvneshwar or Kuldeep) depending upon the nature of the pitch.

Probable XI KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav.

Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankans whitewashed Pakistanis in last test series they played. They will be looking to continue the moment. Karunaratne and Samarawickrama are likely to open. Thirimanne, Chandimal, Mathews, Dickwella will bat in middle order. Sri Lanka will play Shankar to add stability or Sandakan if a pitch is turning. Suranga Lakmal and Vishwa Fernando will form pace attack with Herath and Perera as pin duo

Probable XI Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal (c), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka/ Lakshan Sandakan, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernand

– by Atharva Apte