Sri Lanka v India 2nd Test Preview: India eyes comeback in Sangakkara’s farewell Test

Sri Lanka v India 2nd Test Preview: India eyes comeback in Sangakkara’s farewell Test

Murali Vijay
Murali Vijay will certainly make a comeback into the side for the 2nd Test at Colombo. (Photo Source: Associated Press)

Sri Lanka v India 2nd Test Preview: India eyes comeback in Sangakkara’s farewell Test: When the Indians arrived on Sri Lankan shores, expectations were equal from either of the sides. For India a new Test skipper was ready to change some of the defensive mindset that the visitors displayed under MS Dhoni. While for the Lankans it was all about not letting the Indians get a sniff into the 22 year barren period of not winning a series in Lanka. Amidst all of this Kumar Sangakkara, perhaps the greatest Sri Lankan batsman till date, was to play under the national flag for one last time in a series.

All of India’s good work in the 1st Test was to count for nothing as a certain Dinesh Chandimal played the knock of his career to rescue the home team from a precarious position and help them complete a memorable victory. India was without a doubt ahead in the game for most of the Test, but being ahead and striking the killer blow are entirely different arts and the Indians would do well to keep that in their heads. The team nobody but themselves to blame. The visitors dominated in Galle, yet ended up on the losing side, going down by 63 runs after having the hosts on the mat for a major part of the game. Despite all talks of aggression and winning attitude, when it mattered the most, the Indian players failed to bring up the goods with both bat and ball.

Sri Lanka has always been a tough tour for the Indians. The subcontinental uniformity in the nature of surfaces doesn’t quite ensure performances as we have witnessed over the years. Moreover the flaws in the Indian batting against spin were exposed as harshly as they could have been.

While all fans have a common consensus that India and Sri Lanka play much too often which results in these contests being unable to get the aura of big games, the current series looks a breath of fresh air. Either side is going through a phase of rebuilding with some players coming to terms with Test cricket. A look at the line ups of both sides when they last met in a Test in 2010 and it won’t take you time to realize that the present series has new dimensions and perspectives attached to it.

M Vijay’s absence was not felt in the first game as Dhawan played a superb knock in the first innings, with a hairline fracture to be revealed later. With Dhawan out of the series, Vijay is expected to join the XI and open the batting with KL Rahul, who had a dismal opening Test. Vijay has shown his hunger for runs having made 1082 runs in the 12 matches since January 2014 and will give solidarity at the top of the order.

Also Read : 5 Ways in which India can level the series:

The five bowler theory of India was as good as an imaginary space vehicle, which promises much but only flatters to deceive. Virat will need to have an educated look on his side’s composition and plan things accordingly. If the team management really believed that playing three spinners is the way to go, they would have called a spinner to join the side and not Stuart Binny. Be that as it may, India might go into the game with 2 genuine quicks and Binny playing the all-rounder’s role. They looked like having a sole bowler who had some penetration, the rest were struggling to even perform the supporting act. While Mishra bowled well in spells, it was evident he doesn’t like batsmen coming at him. Ishant and Aaron didn’t do much off note and failed to break that crucial partnership which got the match away from the visitors.

India would be hoping that if they are in the ascendancy in the 2nd Test, umpires do not spoil their party again. Because they certainly can’t argue on lines of the DRS not being there for obvious reasons.

The Lankans on the other hand would be delighted with the result in Galle. Having conceded a 192 run lead after being bowled out for 183, even the most die hard fan, would have lost hope but the Lankans showed its never over till it actually is. Kumar Sangakkara, will play his last Test for Sri Lanka and the occasion is sure to be an emotional one. Judging from Jayawardene’s last Test just about an year ago, expect the P Sara Oval in Colombo to give a resounding farewell to one of Sri Lanka’s favourite sons. After surrendering in the first match, India will be itching to put up a better show and spoil Sri Lanka’s farewell plans for Sangakkara.

The venue has been a memorable one for India. In their last series here, they snatched a rare Test win in the island, chasing down 257 in the final Test of the 2010 series, leveling it 1-1.

Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews is delighted with the effort his team members put in the first test. He wants to win the series in this game, in which case the last Test will be an inconsequential one.

In the 4 matches that Kohli has led thus far, he is still to taste victory, losing twice in Adelaide and Galle when a win was in sight. The question is will India up the ante now, when it matters most, with the series at stake.

Venue – The P Sara Oval is a result-oriented venue – only four of the 18 matches played here have been drawn – and Sri Lanka have won eight of them, including their last match here at the ground when they bundled Pakistan out for 138 in the first innings.

Head to Head:

Overall India lead the Head-to-Head with 14-7 with 15 matches ending in a draw.

Pitch and Weather: According to the meteorological department, it is expected to rain throughout the second Test as well. The same forecast was predicted for the first Test too but thankfully, the rain gods allowed the game. The pitch at the P Sara Oval is expected to be a sporting wicket that will assist the pacers early on and will have something for the spinners as the match goes on. Batsmen, once set can score huge runs on this surface.

Form guide (last five matches, most recent first)

Sri Lanka: WLWLL
India: LDDDL

Last meeting between both sides at this ground : August 3-7, 2010

Sri Lanka 425 & 267, India 436 & 258-5. India won by 5 wickets.

Stats to ponder:

1. India has won a Test series after being 0-1 down only twice – against Australia in 2001 and against England in 1972.

2. If Kumar Sangakkara scores a century, he will become the 34th cricketer to finish his career with a century in his final Test. The last one to do so, Jacques Kallis, was playing against India as well.

3. Last nine Tests at Colombo PSS have all produced result, with Sri Lanka winning six of them.

4. Rangana Herath needs 1 wicket to surpass Chaminda Vaas’ tally of 180 wickets at home soil. Only Muttiah Muralitharan- with 493 wickets at home- will then be ahead of Herath.

5. One more hundred and Virat Kohli will equal Alastair Cook’s world record of scoring five hundreds in first five Tests as captain.

6. Aravinda de Silva is the only Sri Lankan batsman who has hundred in the last match of career (at P Sara Oval, 2002). Can Sanga become the second?

Probable XI:

India: 

Murali Vijay/Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Stuart Binny, R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.

Sri Lanka: 

Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Jehan Mubarak, Dinesh Chandimal, Tharindhu Kaushal, Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep and Rangana Herath.