Although skipper MS Dhoni has said he will take a call on the No 6 slot only on the morning of the third Test, the team management has almost finalised Suresh Raina for the last specialist batsman’s place.
The team management considers Yuvraj Singh “very unlucky” since it is difficult to leave Raina out after his match-saving partnership with Sachin Tendulkar during the second Test at Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). Raina, replacing Yuvraj, who had a bout of fever, scored a splendid century at SSC.
However, the Indian team management is still “undecided” on Gautam Gambhir. The opener, who missed the second Test due to knee injury, had a full-fledged practice session on Sunday. Not only did he bat comfortably in the nets, he even participated in the game of football before practice.
However, the team management is adopting a “wait and watch” approach. Gambhir, it should be noted, has been rested for the tri-series that follows the Tests. The Sri Lankan team management, on the other hand, seems to have given Lasith Malinga the green signal. Malinga, man of the match during Sri Lanka’s victory in Galle, missed the second Test due to a stiff knee but is set to wreak havoc again.
When the slinger turned up at the P Sara Oval on Sunday afternoon, it was expected to be a fitness test. But it turned out to be a preparatory session. Not only did the quickie bowl for well over half an hour, he consistently hit the pair of shoes placed at the crease with his trademark yorkers. While only four Sri Lankan players opted to hit the nets on a day of optional practice, all the Indian players, except Harbhajan Singh, slogged it out. Harbhajan, who is also rested for the tri-series, “opted to rest” but will be available for the Test.