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IND v SL, 2nd Test Preview: India aims for a turnaround after a strong finish at the Eden Gardens

The hosts almost managed to script one of the greatest comebacks in cricket history in Kolkata if it hadn't been for the bad light sabotaging their ambitions

Team India
Team India. (Photo Source: Twitter)

They were outplayed till the first session of the fourth day, but in a very short period, India turned things around in their favor with ease. They almost managed to script one of the greatest comebacks in cricket history if it hadn’t been for the bad light sabotaging their ambitions. All those who questioned their number one status after a dismal rendition in the first half of the Test match got a fitting reply and Sri Lanka managed to survive a major humiliation.

The Lankan Lions were caught in a predicament and for about an hour on the final day, they were left delirious about the result. A healthy 122-run first innings lead wasn’t sufficient for them to hunt the hosts down and with the momentum shifting to the other dressing room, their task will only get difficult in the second Test at Nagpur.

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Nagpur has been a home of a plethora of controversies regarding the tracks provided. But without a shadow of a doubt, the spinners will feel a lot relieved. The Kolkata Test will down as the historic occasion when three of the best spinners in the world (Herath, Ashwin, and Jadeja) went wicketless in a Test conducted in the sub-continent. They’ll be right back in the nucleus of the game as the pitch would definitely grip and no one can rule out the chances of that happening right from the outset.

India (Probable XI): KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami

Sri Lanka (Probable XI): Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal (c), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dimuth Karunaratne, Dasun Shanaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Gamage

Focus will be on

Murali Vijay (India)

Arguably one of the best Indian batsmen in the longest format, Murali Vijay getting axed was a shocker in the Eden Gardens Test. But with Shikhar Dhawan going on a personal leave, Vijay will certainly be back in the team and he will be eager to prove a point. The decision to drop Vijay received a tremendous backlash and that only increases the pressure on him to perform. Technically one of the best players, Vijay will be crucial in the upcoming foreign tours.

Niroshan Dickwella (Sri Lanka)

After all the drama that unfolded on the final day, there were mixed reactions to Niroshan Dickwella’s tactics to “Waste the time”. But what matters the most is, he’ll be hogging a lot of limelight in the second Test. Under pressure, Dickwella struck few lusty blows on the final day and he was pivotal in their historic triumph back in UAE. The Islanders are still struggling to get out of the transistion phase and he might be one of the architects of a modern Lankan unit.

Playing Combinations

India

Murali Vijay and KL Rahul have opened before for the side and they’ll once again do it in Nagpur. Cheteshwar Pujara is the guardian of the Indian side and he’ll bat at number 3. With the skipper Virat Kohli coming in at number 4, India has batsmen who can bat till number 8. Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Ravindra Jadeja will comprise the middle order.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar will not be involved in the next two Tests owing to personal commitments. Replacing him would be the senior pro Ishant Sharma, who will be accompanied by Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav in the fast bowling department. Jadeja and Ashwin will be the spinners for the game.

Sri Lanka

Dimuth Karunaratne will be opening the innings with the struggling Sadeera Samarawickrama, who is desperate to get some runs after his name. Lahiru Thirimanne will be batting at number 3, with the likes of Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, and Dasun Shanaka coming in at in the middle order.

The world was puzzled to see Rangana Herath not pick up a wicket in the previous game, but he’ll relish bowling in Nagpur alongside Dilruwan Perera. Suranga Lakmal is off to an excellent start to this series and he’ll be accompanied by Dasun Shanaka and Lahiru Gamage to share the new ball responsibilities.

StatAttack

8 – Mohammad Shami needs 8 wickets to complete 100 Test wickets, whilst Ravichandran Ashwin needs the same to complete 300 Test scalps.

22 – Dinesh Chandimal is 22 runs short of 3,000 Test runs.

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