SL keen to level series at hallowed SSC

Published : 9:10 am  August 3, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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India vs SL Second Test

Hosts likely to field three spinners 

By Shehan Daniel 
When the SSC last hosted a Sri Lanka-India Test, in 2015, it was the fast bowlers who had the bigger impact, taking a majority of the wickets – 27 of 40 – as the Indians wrapped up the series 2-1 with a 117-run win. 

But, after last week’s defeat at the Galle International Stadium that heavily favoured batting, the SSC track at Maitland Place for today’s (3) Second Test will likely favour the slow bowlers, if Sri Lankan Captain Dinesh Chandimal is to be believed, with the hosts possibly fielding three spinners, including uncapped spinner Malinda Pushpakumara. 

“The pitch looks like a dry surface and might turn after the second day,” Chandimal said. 

The teams (from)
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), K. L. Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Abhinav Mukund, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Angelo Mathews, Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Danushka Gunathilaka, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Nuwan Pradeep, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Malinda Pushpakumara, Lakshan Sandakan and Lahiru Thirimanne.

“Most probably Malinda (Pushpakumara) will come into the side, and Dhananjaya (de Silva) has a bigger chance of replacing Asela (Gunaratne). We’ll have to see the surface (before deciding).”


CITY-DM-4-6India Captain Virat Kohli however, had a different reading of the pitch saying that there was a good grass covering when he inspected the pitch on Tuesday, drawing parallels to the pitch they played on in 2015. 

“(It) Looked pretty nice and hard underneath with good covering of grass. The last time around as well, we thought it was a great wicket for Test cricket. Batsmen had to apply themselves to get runs, bowlers were in the game throughout. It is a wicket that you will get a result on for sure,” Kohli said. 

“That excites us, it’s something that we look forward to as a team and this is the kind of wicket that we always like to play on, where we have a chance to make an impact on the game throughout. I really enjoyed playing here last time, and I think it’s a great wicket for Test cricket.” Chandimal said that ace spinner Rangana Herath was available for selection after hurting the middle finger of his left hand during the First Test in Galle. 

“I am much better. Thanks to the ICC – they gave permission for me to use a inhaler, and that will help me breathe properly. Rangana (Herath) is also fit to play,” the captain said. 

Chandimal was also confident his team would bounce back to win the Second Test, saying they had the determination to do that.
“You can’t say that (that Sri Lanka will lose the Test series 0-3). They are a very talented team, but we aren’t going to lose 0-3. We want to go and win. We are looking to give our best and win this game, level the series and then go to the third match. We have the determination to do that,” he said. 

“We want to just forget about the mistakes (in the defeat). We just want to take the positive out of it and move forward. That’s what I am always telling to the boys,” he added. 

“We’re always talking about the unity, attitude, the focus, discipline and the passion that Sri Lankan cricket has played with. We want to get those five right, the result will come definitely for the good.” 

Going back to his innings in Galle in 2015, where he scored a game-changing 160, Chandimal said that to succeed against the Indian batsmen it required an element of risk. 

“It was a really good knock. When you are playing with a really good team like India, you have to take a risk when you are batting or bowling. If you can do that, you can perform well in this kind of things. That’s what I did in Galle two years ago. I’m looking forward to doing well in this series,” he said. 

“We come with plans. We know India is a very good team in the last 2-3 years. When we play against a team like that, we will have to take a risk in some places. We need to think as batsmen about where we take those risks. If we can identify that, we’ll be able to score a lot of runs against a team like that.”

Chandimal was hopeful his batsmen will take a leaf out of Shikhar Dhawan’s book, and show the same kind of application the opener showed in Galle. 

“If you take the first game Shikhar (Dhawan) played well in that game and that helped them win the game. We’re hoping that our batters will do that in this game,” Chandimal said.

“That is what we want to improve, as a batting unit. They scored 50, 60 runs but couldn’t make any big ones. That’s what we’ve been discussing in our team meetings and practices. In this game they can do a better job than the last game.”