Kolkata: After having played a lot of limited overs’ cricket in the form of the Indian Premier League, the Champions Trophy and the series against the West Indies, the number one Test side is all set to get back to business in the whites as they would take on Sri Lanka in Galle in the first of the three-match test series starting from tomorrow.
Virat Kohli’s men had a terrific time in the whites in the recent past as they beat top teams like New Zealand, England and Australia at home. But this Test series against the Lankan lions is going to be bit different for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, India had been playing five-day cricket all this while in home conditions which automatically benefited them and led them to have that extra edge over the opposition even before a match or a serious got underway.
But this time, they would have to carry on with their consistent performances in Sri Lankan conditions, although they aren’t much different than the Indian conditions, which are said to assist spin bowlers.
Also, another thing that has changed within the Indian team since their last Test match is the head coach, the job of which was given to Ravi Shastri after a lot of drama and speculations.
Anil Kumble, the previous coach had a fantastic time with the Indian team as they had become almost unbeatable in the longest version of the game but after an ugly rift with skipper Virat Kohli, the former Indian leg-spinner stepped down citing his, ‘untenable’ relationship with the captain.
Well, now with Ravi Shastri as the coach things are supposed to work smoothly within the team as Kohli always wanted the former Indian all-rounder to take up the job and thus it can be expected that the team would get along with their new coach and perform as a strong unit.
On the other hand, the Sri Lankan team is going through a tough time at the moment. Former skipper Angelo Mathews called it a day on his captaincy and hasn’t been doing well with the bat and ball.
Newly appointed Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal would miss the first test owing to illness as a result of which the experienced Rangana Herath was handed the task of leading the Sri Lankans against Virat Kohli’s India.
Although they completed a record run-chase in their last Test match against Zimbabwe at home, they would be under the pump as they would be facing the number one Test side where the players are in good form.
The practice match against the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI has helped the Indians with a number of options for the first test in Galle. Kuldeep might just get to play his first overseas Test match after he put up a good performance in the two-day practice game. India is thus likely to go with three spinners with Ashwin, Jadeja and the young Kuldeep Yadav and two pacers in the form of Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav.
The last time India had toured the nation for a test series in 2015 was when they had staged a comeback to win the series 2-1 after losing the first game. Kohli would thus have fond memories with him of that tour and would like to dominate the islanders right from the word go.
Sri Lanka on the other hand would have to put up miraculous effort if they are to go past India.