A fresh December beckons for the titanic tussle between India and Sri Lanka with both teams aiming to outwit each other for one last time in the third Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Delhi tomorrow. For Sri Lanka, the phrase is ‘battle for survival’. But for India, they aim to extend their lead and also to end the Test series on a fine note.
It is cognizance of the fact that India are in ‘upbeat’ mode whereas Sri Lanka are in ‘upheaval’ mode. So far so good for India with one draw and one win. Sri Lanka cannot fight out a ‘dull draw’ as only a complete win will keep them level on terms with the Indians.
Sri Lanka lack the ingredients of ‘killer punch’ and incisive cutting edge to be well and truly in the game. They had shown some glimpses of aggression in the opening Test but they couldn’t continue to throw the meaty challenges on a consistent basis.
Rangana Herath’s absence is a big blow for Sri Lanka and Jeffrey Vandersay gets a prime opportunity to get into the squad. He is a potential leg-spinner by trait. He has already played 11 ODIs and 7 T20Is for Sri Lanka but he is yet to make his Test debut.
Sri Lanka’s batting execution has left them in chaos. Dinesh Chandimal has been the only man giving exuberance and the openers haven’t been up to the scratch so far. To make a huge difference, they will have to sort out their woes before it is too late.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is less pressure on Virat Kohli & Co. A least expected draw or a well-fought win will see them in the comfort zone. However, India cannot afford to take the gas off their foot despite taking a 1-0 lead in the 3-match Test series.
As far as India are concerned, they have well-established openers who are raring to make most of the runs at the top. Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan have done quite well. Dhawan who didn’t play the second Test is in contention for the 3rd Test.
With Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara coming down, the batting looks rock-solid. We have seen glimpses of Rohit Sharma’s insights after four years in Tests. He will hope to continue ticking the flow of runs with emphasis much on cementing his place as a perfect middle-order batsman.
The pace battery comprising Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav have drilled the plates so far pitching the balls with probe variations of line and length. With the greenish wicket in the upcoming matches for India in order to prepare for South Africa tour, the skipper will rely on the pacers for seam movement to extract positives.
Virat Kohli (Captain), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma
Dinesh Chandimal(c), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Dilruwan Perera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage.
Date: December 02, 2017
Venue: Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Delhi
Live Streaming: Star Sports 1 (English), Star Sports 3 (Hindi), Hot Star