India v Sri Lanka, 1st Test - India Predicted XI

India v Sri Lanka, 1st Test – India Predicted XI

Sri Lanka have never won a Test match on the Indian soil.

Virat Kohli India
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli celebrates with his teammates. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

When Sri Lanka and India faced each other a couple of months ago, there was only one winner in all the games across the different formats. Team India had tourwashed the Islanders in rampaging fashion. Now, the reverse fixtures are on the cards and the Sri Lankan team would hope for a better show this time around. They have never won a Test match on the Indian soil.

In the 16 matches that they have played on the Indian soil, they have lost 10 of them. Well, they will take confidence from their 2-0 win against Pakistan in the UAE. But the number one ranked team India is here for total domination. They have not dropped a Test series since a long time now and would want to continue their supremacy. Amidst this backdrop, the team would be keen on putting forward their best combinations possible.

Here we look at the India Predicted XI for the 1st Test against Sri Lanka:

Openers (Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul)

The first selection conundrum that the team will face ahead of the game is picking up the openers. They have three quality batsmen lined up in the squad – Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, and KL Rahul. While Murali Vijay has been the seasoned opener for the team over the years, Dhawan’s recent form in the limited overs cricket cannot be ignored.

Meanwhile, KL Rahul has also been performing well in the opportunities that he has got for team India in the Test cricket. Going by the indications given by skipper Virat Kohli, KL Rahul is likely to open in the match alongside Shikhar Dhawan. Kohli hinted that Dhawan will retain his place in the side. This, in essence, means that Murali Vijay will have to warm the bench.

Middle-Order (Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane)

In the middle order, the big names of team India take strong positions. Cheteshwar Pujara has been in a fine form in the recent times. His exploits with the bat for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy have been great this year. He had missed the first practice session but covered up with an intense one in the second session.

At number 4, the Indian captain Virat Kohli comes in. Kohli has been in a rampaging form in limited overs cricket. However, he has failed to cross the 50-run mark in his last 6 Test innings. He would want to improve on that stat in this game.

Ajinkya Rahane comes in next. He will be under some pressure to perform. He had come up with impressive show in the limited opportunitites he had got in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. He needs to continue on the same. He failed to score big in the Ranji Trophy fixtures though. Rahane was seen practising sweep shots at the training sessions.

Wicket-keeper (Wriddhiman Saha)

The first choice wicketkeeper of the team in the longest format of the game, Wriddhiman Saha, is back in the dressing room. Saha would want to contribute to the team’s cause. With Hardik Pandya not in the side and the team playing with an extra bowler, Saha will have to shoulder the additional responsibility of batting. He had recently scored 97 in one of the Ranji fixtures for Bengal before joining the national side.

Spinners (Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja)

The veteran spin twins of the team – Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja – are back in the squad. The two senior players are set to take the field. Albeit there is Kuldeep Yadav in the side, it is very unlikely that he will get a go in the series.

Ashwin has been practising very hard for his comeback. He was seen bowling leg breaks in one of the practice sessions ahead of the match. Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja missed one of the practice sessions but has been in match practice. He had turned up for Saurashtra in a few matches of Ranji Trophy this season.

Pace bowlers (Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar)

In the fast bowlers’ department, it is almost certain that the team would go in with 3 fast bowler. Conventionally, the tracks in the subcontinent have often favored playing with more spinners than pacers. However, considering the fact that the Indian team is set to tour South Africa after this series, they would want their three pacers to be in the thick of action.

Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav return to the fore in the playing eleven. Both these gentlemen have been the first choice pacers for the team India in the longest format of the game. Umesh and Shami are not lethal with the new ball but also are great reverse swing prospects. The void for the third pacer can be filled in either by Ishant Sharma or Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Bhuvi has been in prime form in the limited overs cricket and would want to translate the form here as well. He had picked up a five-for in Test cricket when India last played at the venue. On the other hand, Ishant has been bowling well in domestic cricket. However, considering the practice session outcomes, Bhuvi is likely to be picked in the side.