India Predicted XI vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test: Vihari, Iyer and Gill compete for batting spots; Kohli set for historic 100th

By, New Delhi
Mar 03, 2022 02:21 PM IST

As India prepare for a return to Tests, take a look at the side's predicted XI for the first match in Mohali.

Team India will return to the longest format of the game on March 4 (Friday) when the side takes on Sri Lanka in the first Test of the series in Mohali. The Test at the PCA Stadium is special for many reasons; the game in Mohali will be Virat Kohli’s 100th Test, as he will become the only 12th Indian player to reach the feat. The match will also mark the beginning of Rohit Sharma’s role as a full-time captain in the longest format. 

Hanuma Vihari; Shreyas Iyer; Shubman Gill(PTI)
Hanuma Vihari; Shreyas Iyer; Shubman Gill(PTI)

The game also essentially marks the start of a transitional phase in the Indian Test setup. A host of senior players – former vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, and Ishant Sharma were dropped from the squad with the selection committee putting its faith in the youngsters. And so, we can expect a couple of new faces in India’s batting department when the side takes on Sri Lanka in the first Test at the PCA Stadium.

Also read: 'Paaji, that's enough. Got to focus on fitness': When a young Kohli made a promise to Tendulkar following a 'heavy meal'

Let’s take a look at India’s predicted XI for the game:

Rohit Sharma (c) The Indian opener will begin his leadership role in Test cricket on Friday. He makes a return to the longest format after five months, having last donned the whites in September during India’s tour of England. Rohit was forced to miss the tour of South Africa due to a hamstring injury but made a bright start to his captaincy stint in the limited-overs formats, securing 3-0 clean sweeps over New Zealand (T20Is), West Indies (ODIs and T20Is), and Sri Lanka (T20Is). As he prepares for his first Test as full-time captain, Rohit will be hoping for a similar start.

Mayank Agarwal In the absence of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal is set to partner with Rohit Sharma in the first Test. Mayank had inconsistent outings in the South Africa tour but in his last Test appearance in India, the opener had registered scores of 150 & 62 against New Zealand in Mumbai.

Hanuma Vihari After remaining on the fringes for most part of his Test career, Vihari is expected to get a more consistent run in the whites in the absence of Rahane and Pujara. The 28-year-old is a top-order batter for his state side Hyderabad and is expected to reprise a similar role for the Indian team in Mohali.

Virat Kohli All eyes will justifiably be on Kohli as he takes part in his 100th Test on Friday. After relinquishing the captaincy role in the longest format, Kohli will play purely as a batter in the Test format for the first time since December 2014. The 33-year-old would be aiming to mark the historic occasion with his 71st century, which has eluded him since November 2019.

Shreyas Iyer The Mumbai-born batter made a brilliant start to his Test career, slamming a century and a half-century on his debut against New Zealand in November last year. With no Rahane in the squad, Iyer is set to take over the fifth position in the batting order.

Rishabh Pant (wk) Of his 28 Tests so far, Pant has played only six in India; however, the exclusion of Wriddhiman Saha means the Indian youngster is set to take over a permanent spot in the wicketkeeper-batter’s position in Team India. The left-handed batter had last played a Test in India exactly a year ago (March 4, 2021) against England in Ahmedabad.

Ravindra Jadeja The Indian all-rounder made a dominating return to international cricket against Sri Lanka earlier this week and is set to feature in the Indian XI for the first Test in Mohali. Jadeja scored a half-century against New Zealand in his previous Test appearance and was forced to miss the South Africa tour due to injury.

Ravichandran Ashwin The off-spinner remains only five wickets away from overtaking legendary former Indian captain Kapil Dev’s wicket-tally. However, it remains to be seen whether he will be fit to play in the game. Ashwin had missed the limited-overs series against West Indies and Sri Lanka due to injury but returned to the squad for the Tests.

Jasprit Bumrah The fast bowler will don the vice-captaincy role in Tests against Sri Lanka and is expected to lead the Indian pace attack in Mohali. 

Mohammed Shami Shami retains his spot in the Test squad after being rested for India’s limited-overs leg last month. Shami had played in all of India’s three Tests against South Africa in December/January.

Mohammed Siraj With his consistent performances throughout 2021, Siraj cemented his place in the Indian Test XI and is expected to retain his place in the side against Sri Lanka.

India XI Rohit Sharma (c), Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.

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