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India vs Sri Lanka: Five key player battles to watch out for

Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team will take on Sri Lanka in a three-Test series, starting Thursday. Here’s a look at the five key player clashes that are likely to light up the contest.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Nov 15, 2017 16:57 IST
Devarchit Varma
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli during a training session at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata ahead of the 1st Test against Sri Lanka.
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli during a training session at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata ahead of the 1st Test against Sri Lanka. (PTI)

With India set to face Sri Lanka in a three-Test series starting Thursday, Hindustan Times takes a look at the five key player battles that could decide the fate of this series -

(Read | Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja’s return spices up lopsided India vs Sri Lanka contest)

Virat Kohli vs Rangana Herath

Will India captain Virat Kohli come out on top or will Rangana Herath outfox him? (HT Photo )

In the battle of aces, the Sri Lankan spin wizard could find his wish to win a Test in India a monumental task. Herath will have to get rid of the Indian skipper Virat Kohli early in order to put the hosts under pressure. On the other hand, Kohli will look to continue his solid form.

(Read | Virat Kohli says ‘will ask for leave if needed’ ahead of India vs Sri Lanka Tests)

Shikhar Dhawan vs Dilruwan Perera

Shikhar Dhawan, who has been in brilliant form since the Champions Trophy, will face a stiff challenge from Sri Lanka’s off-spinner Dilruwan Perera. (HT Photo )

With 358 runs at 89.50 during the Sri Lanka tour earlier this year, Dhawan ruled the roost among batsmen from both teams. Making a comeback into the Test team, Dhawan will be keen to build on the form that he has shown of late. On favourable tracks where his aim would be to bat for long, his battle with Dilruwan Perera — Sri Lanka’s second best wicket-taker this year with 26 dismissals — will be the one to watch out for.

(Read | India vs Sri Lanka: What Dinesh Chandimal & Co need to break losing curse)

Cheteshwar Pujara vs Lakshan Sandakan

Cheteshwar Pujara would look to continue his good form, but Lakshan Sandakan will have other ideas. (HT Photo )

Before embarking on a tough South Africa tour, Pujara, who has warmed up for the upcoming Test series with a couple of Ranji Trophy centuries, will look to continue his sparkling form. In the middle-order, he will also be presented with a different challenge against Sandakan, with chinaman bowlers riding the trend in India of late.

(Read | Ravi Shastri’s stinker: ‘See your career’ before criticising MS Dhoni)

Ravichandran Ashwin vs Angelo Mathews

Both Ravichandran Ashwin and Angelo Mathews will have important roles to play for their teams. (HT Photo )

India’s premier bowler will be in a battle with arguably the best batsman in Sri Lankan ranks, who will be expected to fire upon his return to the side. Mathews, who carries the responsibility of leading Sri Lanka’s batting unit on this tour, is set for an intense battle with the wily Ashwin in the middle-order.

Ravindra Jadeja vs Dinesh Chandimal

Ravindra Jadeja will be in no mood to allow Dinesh Chandimal to be in his comfort zone. (HT Photo )

The unrelenting Jadeja will present toughest challenge to Sri Lanka captain Chandimal, who seeking nothing but consistency from his team and himself. Jadeja, on his part, will look for an encore of his previous performances at home before overseas assignments begin, and push his case as a specialist all-rounder.