After a highly successful long home session which laid road for the Indian team to become No.1 test side in the world, they begin their quest to stamp their domination away from home. It might not be easy by any means, there awaits a long away season where the entire unit is going to be tested in different conditions.
Having said that, the start of the season won’t be the case, as the Indian team, meet their familiar Foe in Sri Lanka under conditions which are a carbon copy of what they get back at home. The same foe they conquered in 2015 to make history. Sri Lankan team of 2015 were much better equipped both in terms of skill and experience than what they are today. To say more of their current situation all the managed to do in recent times were that they pulled off a victory from jaws of defeat against a low profile team in Zimbabwe. Which makes them not a real deal for this mighty Indian side to topple isn’t it?
But Indian team has few issues of their own to sort out due to injuries for their top order batters. A week back Murali Vijay was ruled out of entire series due to wrist fracture so the third opener in Mukund was set to take that spot. But Mukund doesn’t have a good amount of runs on his back in recent past, added to it he is a shaky starter which makes him a weak link to start with. To make things worse in form Rahul is ruled out of the First test with viral fever, which makes Dhawan spot in Playing 11 inevitable unless Virat decides to use a make shift option in Pujara to open. It’s known that Dhawan was dropped from test cricket after he failed to make use of ample opportunities presented to him prove his worth. So pairing him with Mukund at the top makes India top order very vulnerable and may be an opportunity for the underdog Sri Lankan side to take upper hand in the series opener at Galle. So pairing Pujara with Mukund to open will be a wise choice as Puji has done it during 2015 Sri Lankan tour also he did a classy job so no need to doubt his credibility, this ploy also finds a space for Rohit in Playing 11. It will not be a bad choice after all as Rohit had a decent run in test cricket before getting sidelined by injury also his track record in Asian conditions is not all that bad. This makes shift move also will make Indian batting order sturdier at the top and more beefed up in lower middle order. This makes a more reliable solution, to say the least. Not too many worries in the bowling department, if at all Indian’s try to accommodate Hardik then only few selection questions will be thrown onto the table.
So best Playing 11 on offer for India:
Mukund, Pujara, Virat, Rahane, Rohit, Saha, Ashwin, Jadeja, Kuldeep, Shami and Umesh.
Second best Playing 11:
Dhawan, Mukund, Pujara, Virat, Rahane, Saha, Ashwin, Jadeja, Kuldeep, Shami and Umesh.
No point of Playing three seamers in Asian conditions that also eliminates Hardik selection headache to a greater extent, as both Ashwin and Jadeja are true all-rounder’s in this format of the game which gives the team a great balance. But with recent news suggesting that Hardik will make his debut, there might be a shock to see Kuldeep being left out. If the track on offer is flat and good to bat for first 3 days, then 3 seamer option might be open for the grabs and Hardik will sneak in. If a dust bowl is on offer and still Hardik makes the cut then I fear Virat has decided to use Hardik as Second pace bowler which might not be a great choice.
Speaking of Sri Lankan unit they do lack quality player’s big time now and are over dependent on Rangan Herath to win games at home. They seriously lack depth in batting front it’s been the case since the retirement of Mahela and Sangakkara but now their bowling unit also looks clueless. For instance, during 2015 Series against Indian they had Dhamika Prasad in their unit who gave them much needed new ball breakthrough in every game. Now they are without his service due to some unknown reason, which makes their bowling all just Rangana hearth. To add salt to their own they also Lost Dinesh Chandimal for first 2 games of this series due to illness. Even with the late resurgent of Tharanga and some flashes of brilliance shown by Kushal Mendis and Gunatilaka their batting unit doesn’t look all promising against the likes of Ashwin and co. So with all these limitations the best 11 Sri Lanka would likely put on filed tomorrow might be
Best Playing 11 on offer for Sri Lanka:
Karunaratne, Gunatilaka, Mendis, Tharanga, Mathews, Dickwella, Gunaratne, D Perera, R Herath, Pradeep, L Kumara
Thus on paper and even on Field, this series looks a big mismatch. Unless Rangan spins his magic chances of Sri Lanka winning game looks bleak. On the other hand, Virat & CO does know that they cannot take it as a cake walk, few blatant mistakes might open up the gates for the underdogs in a big way. If Indian Play Rangana with respect and take one session at a time, not just the first match at Galle also the series will be totally in India’s favor if not a brown wash of 3-0.
Sri Lanka WLWLL
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