Virat Kohli-Rangana Herath clash key in India vs Sri Lanka series
India will square off against Sri Lanka in the first Test in Galle and the clash of key players like Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin against Rangana Herath will be vital in the outcome of the series.Updated: Jul 25, 2017 20:10 IST
India’s tour of Sri Lanka will begin with the first Test in Galle. The Indian team will tour Sri Lanka for a full series after eight long years and Wednesday’s match will also be the first under newly appointed coach Ravi Shastri. Virat Kohli’s Indian side are high on confidence, having lost only one out of 17 Tests since July 2016. Currently, India is the No.1 Test side and they will be favourites heading into the contest.
Sri Lanka on the other hand have had a rather dismal series against Zimbabwe, losing an ODI bilateral series for the first time against Zimbabwe. However, they redeemed themselves with a record chase of 388 in the one-off Test and securing a rather hard fought test match victory. In the recent encounter between the two sides in the Champions Trophy in England, Sri Lanka stunned India in a high-scoring chase at the Oval.
Virat Kohli vs Rangana Herath
The Indian captain will hope to put the coach saga behind him and continue to enhance his awesome record against Sri Lanka. Kohli has got the most runs for India in Tests in the past year. But his counter-part Rangana Herath has been Sri Lanka’s most successful bowler in recent times; getting 11 wickets against Zimbabwe in Colombo Test. He tormented India 7/48 in the Galle Test in what was Kohli’s first series as full-time skipper. With the added responsibility of captaincy, he will also be hoping to get his tenure off to a winning start.
Ravichandran Ashwin vs Niroshan Dickwella
Ravichandran Ashwin was in sublime form in the home season and his six-wicket haul against Sri Lanka in 2015 is not likely to be forgotten. In the last series, Ashwin ended 21 wickets and Sri Lanka will be wary of his variations. Niroshan Dickwella, who guided Sri Lanka to a record chase against Zimbabwe, will be a key to Sri Lanka’s middle order; However, Ashwin’s record against left-handed batsmen will be a major concern for the hosts.
Rohit Sharma vs Lahiru Kumara
Rohit Sharma put up a couple of good performances for India in the ICC Champions Trophy in June, including a knock of 78 against Sri Lanka and a century in the semi-final against Bangladesh. He also captained Mumbai Indian’s to their third Indian Premier League title. Lahiru Kumara’s inclusion to the squad is an indication that he will be one Herath’s key bowlers against India. Kumara may be a 20-year old but his five-wicket haul against Zimbabwe highlighted his pace and control, and will be vital in unnerving Sharma.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar vs Kusal Mendis
Kusal Mendis is one of the stars in the Sri Lankan batting. He is remembered for his knock of 176 against Australia that turned the series and recently, he led Sri Lanka to a Champions Trophy group match victory against India scoring 89 in the 159-run partnership with Danushka Gunathilaka. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been bowling consistently and has troubled the top order with swing. In previous series, he picked five wickets against West indies and New Zealand last year. Mendis was able to withstand Kumar’s fine spell with the ball in Champions Trophy outing, only to be undone by a run-out by the Indian bowler.
Ajinkya Rahane vs Nuwan Pradeep
Nuwan Pradeep’s ability to bowl at pace and swing the ball could trouble the top order batsmen. Ajinkya Rahane, who has been India’s consistent performer away from home, will be aiming to get some good performances in Sri Lanka, where he had a poor run in the 2015 series. The right-hander will look to avenge his low-scoring dismissals as they go face to face two years later.
First Published: Jul 25, 2017 17:00 IST