India tour of Sri Lanka, 2017

India Look To Level Series Against Sri Lanka

Colombo: Their top ranking may not be at stake but injury-hit India are grappling with selection dilemmas as they go into the third and final cricket Test against Sri Lanka here on Tuesday, hoping to
india look to level series against sri lanka -...
PTI 02 Aug 2010, 12:52 PM IST
Colombo: Their top ranking may not be at stake but injury-hit India are grappling with selection dilemmas as they go into the third and final cricket Test against Sri Lanka here on Tuesday, hoping to avoid a series defeat.

Trailing 0-1, India cannot settle for anything but an outright victory to square the series.

Although they don't have to worry about their top position in the ICC rankings, the Indians do have a few selection dilemmas to deal with on the eve of the match at the P Sara Oval.

With Suresh Raina scoring a century on debut in the drawn second Test, the place of an off-colour Yuvraj Singh, who was down with flu, is uncertain for the series finale.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was non-committal on which of the two would make the playing XI and it remains to be seen whether Yuvraj's past reputation can score over Raina's red-hot current form in the final consideration.

Another Indian concern is opener Gautam Gambhir, who was nursing inflammation in his knee which forced him to sit out the second Test.

Although he was seen practicing in the nets yesterday but whether he is fit enough to make the team is not yet known.

Veteran Sachin Tendulkar, who is set to surpass Steve Waugh's record of being the most capped player in Test cricket if he plays tomorrow, was also down with a groin problem which did not allow him to take the field on the final day of the second Test.

But the 37-year-old iconic right-hander, who scored a fifth career double hundred in the second Test, also practised in the nets yesterday, an indication that he would be padding in his record 169th Test.

Apart from these minor injury concerns, batting form is hardly an issue for the Indians, who piled up a whopping 707 runs in the first innings of the second Test in reply to Sri Lanka's 642.

Virender Sehwag was his usual explosive self, providing the start for others to build on in the intimidating line-up that also has the stylish V V S Laxman.

Bowling, however, is a headache for the Indians with the pace department desperately missing the services of Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth, who were ruled out due to injury.

Ishant Sharma impressed briefly in the second Test but has been off-colour for most of the series and though the young Abhimanyu Mithun has given it his all, the placid pitch here didn't help his confidence much in the second Test.

Spin spearhead Harbhajan Singh, too, also failed to work his magic.

The lifeless track at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground, that produced over 1500 runs over five days, was later lambasted by both Dhoni and his opposite number Kumar Sangakkara.

Dhoni even went to the extent of saying that he would preferred wrapping up the proceedings by the fourth day itself on such no-result wicket.

The curator has promised a sporting pitch for the series decider and the Lankans would be relishing that prospect given the variety they have in the bowling department.

Like India, the Lankans don't have batting issues to worry about as top willow-wielders like Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, the upcoming Tharanga Parnavitana and the destructive Tillakaratne Dilshan are in fine form.

But unlike India, the hosts have a decent bowling attack despite missing the spin wizardary of the now-retired Muttiah Muralitharan.

They were without the lethal Lasith Malinga in the second Test due to injury but the in-form pacer is expected to back in the side.

His comeback is expected to boost the confidence of other bowlers -- Ajantha Mendies, Rangana Herath, Dilhara Fernando and Suraj Randiv -- as well who took a beating in the second Test.

Teams (from):

India: M S Dhoni (C), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Murali Vijay, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha and Abhimanyu Mithun.

Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (C), Muttiah Muralitharan, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Tharanga Paranavitana, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Dilhara Fernando, Dammika Prasad, Suraj Randiv, Thilina Kandamby, Chanaka Welegedara, Lahiru Thirimanne.

Match starts at 10 am (IST). PTI
Vote
 
 
 

Write a comment

 

More from sports