About the Match
India has totally dominated the series against Sri Lanka so far and will be looking to complete their first ever clean sweep in the country. The Hosts, on the other hand, will be desperate to turn things around and regain some semblance of parity before the limited overs leg of the series begins.
A Sri Lankan team that was already facing a lot of criticism from all quarters due to the seemingly never ending ‘transition period’ has been hit by injuries to make things worse. After the loss of Asela Gunaratne in the first test, Nuwan Pradeep and Ranagana Herath will be missing the third test.
Both of these two bowlers were by far the most threatening to India and their loss really puts Sri Lanka on the back foot even before the test match begins. This could be the reason why Sri Lanka has prepared a surface that is currently one of the greenest that you will come across Asia.
Sri Lanka will be hoping that their young pacers, Lahiru Kumara and Dushmanth Chameera are able to make full use of the conditions and go through the Indian batting line-up.
It is not going to be easy because India is no longer the easy prey against pace it once was and better teams than Sri Lanka have tried to beat them on a green pitch and failed.
A surface which offers a lot of help the fast bowlers also leaves the Sri Lankan batsmen vulnerable to the moving ball as well. Their last overseas tour against South Africa had some pretty helpful surfaces for the bowlers and their batting was an abject disappointment.
Dimuth Karunaratne is currently the second highest run scorer in the series and as the opening batsman for Sri Lanka, he becomes doubly important to ensure a good start for his team. Sri Lanka showed some fight in the second inning of the last match as Karunaratne, Mendis and Angelo Mathews all scored runs.
These three and Dickwella will need to score runs once again while Dinesh Chandimal will hope to return to some form. We honestly don’t see this batting lineup scoring too many runs if they get put in on a green pitch with exaggerated movement but the Sri Lanka fans will be hoping we are proved wrong.
The bowling attack for Sri Lanka is going to be very green and in a way it makes sense to provide them the most helpful conditions. Whether this decision will backfire on the hosts remains to be seen.
The highest wicket taker for India and of the series, Ravindra Jadeja, has been ruled out of the last test because of the total demerits he had collected over a period of time. It is a big loss to India but one that they seem to have the resources to overcome.
They have Kuldeep Yadav in reserve if they want to play two spinners and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar if the track appears to be really green on the day of the match. Both of the bowlers are wicket takers and capable of replacing Ravindra Jadeja without any let up in quality.
India’s batting may be tested by the conditions but this is not a team to run away from challenges. While Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane will not mind the extra pace, it will be interesting to see how the other batsmen deal with the expected movement.
Shikhar Dhawan has had his troubles with the moving ball, KL Rahul is a bit of an unknown and Cheteshwar Pujara actually ended up losing his place after the last round of away matches for India. Virat Kohli too struggled famously in England but he has grown tremendously as a batsman since then.
The lower order of Saha, Ashwin and Hardik Pandya may also find it much more difficult to score runs especially if they come in against the second new ball.
The loss of Ravindra Jadeja will also hurt a lot in the batting department because neither Kuldeep Yadav or Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is as good as him with the willow in hand.
Unlike the years past though, this Indian team has 3 bowlers well suited to take advantage of seaming conditions. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is the king of taking early wickets while Shami will test the batsmen with movement in both directions. Umesh Yadav bowls with extra pace and will threaten as well if the surface offers any help.
Sri Lanka looks to have set up a different kind of challenge for this Indian team and we think it will make for some fascinating viewing.
Pitch and Conditions
A lot has been spoken about the conditions already but that is because all reports are promising a green and pacy wicket unlike any that Asian surfaces usually provide. Pallekele gets a lot of rain throughout the year and we expect there to be some interruptions here as well.
We think that India is a better team than Sri Lanka under any conditions and back them to win. A clean sweep is on the cards.
Back India to wi