Desperate to square the series, in the second and last Test beginning at Eden Gardens on Sunday, India made three changes to the squad of XV picked for the first Test. Sreesanth returns to the fold after missing the second Test in Bangladesh and the innings and 6-run defeat against South Africa in Nagpur.
Dinesh Karthik returned to the squad and Suresh Raina got a maiden call-up to the Test side. The players dropped were medium-pacers Sudeep Tyagi, Abhimanyu Mithun and back-up wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who accidentally made his Test debut as specialist batsman in Nagpur when Rohit Sharma injured his ankle minutes before the match.
“It's like a dream come true,” Raina said. “I was waiting for this opportunity since long and am happy that God has finally heard my prayers. I am looking forward to this opportunity, and I was expecting this soon, as I was doing well in the one-dayers and domestic matches, hitting the ball especially well. It's a very good opportunity for me to showcase my talent in the longer version of the game and I am raring to go,” said the Uttar Pradesh left-hander, who has played 87 ODIs. Raina made 119 in three Ranji Trophy matches at 28.25 with just one half-century this season. He did better in Duleep Trophy, scoring 179 in three innings at 59.66 with two scores above 50.
V.V.S. Laxman, who missed the Nagpur Test because of a finger injury sustained in Bangladesh, retains his place in the squad, which indicates that the team management is expecting him to get fit before the second Test. S. Badrinath, who made his debut in Nagpur, is also in the squad.
The inclusion of Sreesanth increases pressure on Ishant Sharma, who went wicketless in the South African first innings in Nagpur. Sreesanth returns after having recovered from a hamstring injury.