About the Match
After dominating the first test match with absolute ease, India will try and wrap up their second consecutive series victory in Sri Lanka in this test. The Sri Lankan team can be expected to put up more a fight in this match but whether it will be enough to level this series or even hold on to for a draw is something debatable.
Nothing seemed to go right for the hosts in the last match. They dropped catches, lost players to injury between the match and were left fighting with one arm tied behind their back. Senior players like Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath had forgettable games and while some of the younger batsmen played a few attractive shots, India was never really threatened.
What can Sri Lanka do to turn things around in such a short time and in such a dramatic fashion?
They have their designated skipper, Dinesh Chandimal coming back into the game for a start. Chandimal scored one of the most dramatic centuries that you will ever see to lead his team to victory against India when they last toured and the Islanders would be hoping for a similar result this time around.
The injury to Asela Gunaratne has also meant that Sri Lanka will have to make a forced change, most likely in the form of Dhananjaya de Silva who can both bowl and bat or Lahiru Thirimmane an out and out batsman brought into the squad for this match.
There are also hints emerging from the Sri Lankan camp that Lahiru Kumara might be replaced by spinner Malinda Pushpakumara for this match. It will be interesting to see how many spinners Sri Lanka actually ends up playing on a pitch that is expected to be excellent for batting for the first couple of days.
With Chandimal coming, Gunathilaka will be sitting out and should strengthen the batting order somewhat. We believe that Sri Lanka is struggling from a lack of runs but their batting order is not one to be scoffed at.
Kusal Mendis showed what he is capable of against Australia, Tharanga seems to be in good form and a middle order of Chandimal, Mathews, and Dickwella could add useful runs in any situation. Mendis, in particular, has to be the talisman for this team in our opinion and we have a strong feeling he will come good.
The biggest worry that India has ahead of this match in deciding whether to play KL Rahul as an opener or not. In our opinion, Kohli is sure to play Rahul in place of Mukund because he believes that Rahul is India’s first choice opener and that he likes the aggressive nature that Rahul brings to the team.
His partnership with Shikhar Dhawan could prove to be absolutely breathtaking if both of them get on a roll and quickly take the game away from Sri Lanka. Speaking of Shikhar Dhawan, the addition of the sweep to his arsenal has made him very difficult for the spinners to bowl to. Dhawan, in form, can pick the line and length of the ball very quickly advancing down the pitch if needed as well. Sri Lanka will need to come up with some different strategies to counter him, possibly even starting with two spinners.
Virat Kohli scored one of the easiest centuries that he has scored up until now in the last match but we worry about him on slower wickets. If the pitch is slow and low, Virat might struggle.
Pujara and Rahane scored runs with ease, particularly in the case of India’s number three. Pujara will be in our opinion very Important for India on turning wickets. Against Australia on particularly spiteful wickets, it was Pujara and Rahul who stood out from all other batsmen.
It is unlikely if India will change anything about their bowling lineup but we might see Kuldeep Yadav being included in place of Hardik Pandya. That will leave India with a slightly shorter batting lineup but add another quality spinner.
The real question though is if Kohli thinks India needs another spinner when Jadeja and Ashwin have done the job so well in the first game.
Pitch and Conditions
The SCC at Colombo used to be infamous for dead pitches where the batsmen could continue to score runs with their eyes closed. Of late though the pitch has started to break up around the third day taking prodigious amounts of spin and making life very hard for the batsmen.
The reports coming from the ground seem to suggest that this pitch is going to be very dry and start to spin after two days of easy batting. This means that the team that wins the toss could have a very big advantage. A large first innings score or a lead will be invaluable.
The weather conditions for this match have been predicted to be mostly dry with some spells of rain in the afternoon sessions.
We are backing India to win but strongly believe that Sri Lanka will put up a much stronger fight in this game. Waiting for some in-game odds might actually prove to be beneficial for punters