Internet Desk: Virat Kohli and Co. are just one step away to create history, as they might become the first Indian side to complete a clean-sweep in an overseas three match Test rubber when they will lock horns with a much inexperienced Sri Lanka in the third and final match, which will start on Saturday.
The World No.1 Indian cricket team won the first two Tests with an ease by 304 runs at Galle and an innings and 53 runs in the second Test at Colombo. The hosts have been going through a transition period for last couple of years, and in this Test they have prepared a green top to try to salvage some pride from the inconsequential game.
Both the teams didn’t practice ahead of the final game due to heavy showers today. The Lankans have included pacers Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Gamage in their squad, in place of injured Nuwan Pradeep and Rangana Herath and there is no doubt that they would be aiming to fight back with their pace attack.
Two days before the match, it was difficult to differentiate the 22-yards from the lush green outfield of the Pallekele stadium. The nature of the pitch may prompt Kohli to play his third specialist seamer in Bhuvneshwar Kumar in place of the suspended Ravindra Jadeja. Bhuvneshwar has done well in the few chances he has got in the Test team during the Kohli era.
For seaming conditions, he has been Kohli’s ‘Go To Man’. However, there is a possibility that Bhuvneshwar, with his decent batting ability, will replace Hardik Pandya with chinaman Kuldeep Yadav playing as the second spinner. Kuldeep did wonderfully well on a bouncy Dharamsala track against Australia, where his four first innings wickets proved to be decisive.
The 28 Tests in which he has captained India so far, Kohli has not fielded the same XI. The pattern is unlikely to change in the 29th Test as well. How big a 3-0 series win will be is still debatable considering the quality of the opposition. But considering that India have never won a full Test series, 85 years since their debut in 1932, it will be praiseworthy if they go on to win the final Test of the series.
The team management may think of giving Abhinav Mukund another chance while Rohit Sharma is still waiting to play his first Test since October.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, K L Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Axar Patel.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjay de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Gamage, Lakshan Sandakan, Malinda Pushpakumara.