Indian cricket team headed straight to the Caribbean Islands after their ICC Champions Trophy final appearance. After winning the ODI series and losing the lone T20I, they are now back in the Indian subcontinent as they go head to head against Sri Lanka. The first Test will be played in Galle and before that, let’s take a look at the 5 talking points of the series.
KL Rahul’s absence
Opener KL Rahul, who was coming back after an injury, has been ruled out of the first Test due to viral fever. The Karnataka batsman had hurt his shoulder during the Australia Test series and was out of action thereafter. Rahul’s absence means India would most likely open with Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund. While Dhawan played his last Test in October last year, Mukund’s last appearance was against Australia this year. Knowing this, it would be pretty interesting to see how things work at the top of the order.
India’s middle order
With Cheteshwar Pujara at number three, Virat Kohli at number four and Ajinkya Rahane at number five, the middle order looks compact. Pujara who isn’t part of India’s ODI and T20 plans , was playing County cricket for Nottinghamshire. Although he failed in the practice game (12 runs), we all know his temperament and class. With averages of 49 and 46 respectively, Kohli and Rahane have been terrific in the Test format. While Kohli retired out after making 53, Rahane reached 40 before doing the same. These two have played crucial knocks playing abroad and this series will be no different.
Who will get the nod - Rohit or Hardik?
Rohit Sharma last played a five-day game back in October 2016 against New Zealand and has made a comeback in the Test side. Captain’s trust and batsman’s calibre are two important reasons for his comeback and it will be interesting to see if he makes it in the final XI. All-rounder Hardik Pandya, will also be in contention for the spot. After impressing in ODIs and T20Is, Pandya can get a chance to make his Test debut against a struggling Sri Lanka side.
Spin Trio for India?
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja had a terrific home season last year where they caused a lot of trouble to the visiting teams. Kuldeep Yadav, played in the last Test of that season and has continued to move up the ladder ever since. With all of them in good shape, it would be interesting to see if India play with three spinners or decide to drop one. Even if they decide to drop one, who would it be? This is all because of Kuldeep’s impressive show till now.
Indian pacers have been terrific in the last few series. Not only have they kept things quite, but also picked up wickets regularly. India have the quartet of Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma at their disposal. Sri Lanka have been vulnerable in the recent past and a strike force like this will only dent their confidence more.
India are all set to play 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and a lone T20I and we wish them the best for this series!