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Sri Lanka aim for the jugular, to target Virat Kohli-led India with spin trio

The nature of the wicket at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo has changed within a space of 24 hours ahead of Sri Lanka’s second Test against India, which may force visiting skipper Virat Kohli to change his team combination

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 02, 2017 18:45 IST
India vs Sri Lanka,IND v SL,Virat Kohli
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli (L) may have to change his team combination for the second Test against Sri Lanka after the change in the nature of the wicket.(AFP)

Shaken by the rampaging Indians, who destroyed Sri Lanka’s attempts at blunting their bowling prowess with a docile surface at Galle, the wicket is expectedly at the centre stage ahead of the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC).

After the rude awakening, the home team is aiming for the jugular and is looking to ambush the Indians with its spin strength.

Virat Kohli was in for a surprise when he walked into the ground on Wednesday, the eve of the Test. On Tuesday, he had gone back to the hotel planning a combination best equipped to negotiate the conditions favourable for pace bowlers, as the SSC wicket during the nets session had a fair covering of grass.

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Kohli declared it was an ideal wicket which would produce a result. He was unaware that the nature of the track had changed in 24 hours, the grass shaved off as the hosts seemed to have lost faith in their pace attack after the mauling last week.

After the move to roll out a featherbed backfired at Galle, Sri Lanka want to pit their spin might against R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja by preparing a dry surface.

“It is a dry surface and should spin after the second day,” predicted Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal, who is making a comeback after missing the Galle game.

It was in contrast to how Kohli described the wicket. On getting a hint that the surface had changed, the India skipper replied, “We’ll see tomorrow”.

READ | India vs Sri Lanka: Virat Kohli & Co. train under watchful eyes in Colombo

“We always name 12 in our meetings. Looking at things in the morning, if the wicket sort of changes or in today’s time some changes are made, we’ll take a call in the morning. According to what we’ve seen in the wicket, we already have a combination in mind. We’ll discuss those things further when we see the wicket tomorrow (Thursday) morning,” said Kohli.

Chandimal said his team was likely to go in with three spinners at the expense of a pacer. The home team may throw a double left-arm spin attack at Kohli & Co with old fox Rangana Herath teaming up with experienced first-class cricketer Malinda Pushpakumara. Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera will be the third option.

India aren’t likely to tinker with the winning combination, but the late development may force Kohli to re-look at his options.

First Published: Aug 02, 2017 18:24 IST