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India’s tour of Sri Lanka : Preview, 1st test, Galle

The last time India won a test series in Sri Lanka was 1993. The match notes for the decisive 2nd test state meekly at the bottom that this was India’s first away victory in 27 test matches.

The Indian team has only won one overseas test match in its last 22 attempts.

With the aggressive Kohli in his first full series as skipper, will this change?

We are super happy about the five man bowling attack Kohli has said he will employ. Definitely the right way to go! A few other thoughts on team composition:

Top order – One of Virat Kohli’s headaches has resolved itself with the established opener M. Vijay having to pull out with a bad hamstring. K.L. Rahul and Dhawan will open the batting for India.

The number 3 position requires someone solid who can bat long periods. It requires someone who can play the new ball as well as the old ball. Spin as well as pace. Someone who will put a price on his wicket and make the opposition earn it. It requires application and technique. We think Pujara should be brought back in to bat at number 3. The team management will probably plump for Rohit Sharma. Enjoyably, most of you seem to think that Rohit should have been dropped and Vijay, Dhawan and Rahul should form India’s top order.

Middle order– Kohli and Rahane. The engine of the Indian batting, our song of ice and fire. On their day, they can put the world’s best bowlers to the sword. Absolutely crucial that they fire if India are to put runs on the board and put the Lankans under pressure.

Wicket keeper – Wriddhiman Saha. Excellent with the gloves and, as his brief innings in the IPL and Australia have shown us, extremely capable with the bat. His role becomes very important if India are looking to play five bowlers. He will need to make a contribution with the bat and shepherd what might be a long-ish tail. The turning wickets in this series will test his keeping skills.

Spinners – We would pick Ashwin and Amit Mishra. One off-spiner and one leg-spinner. Ashwin is a decent batsman and Kohli has previously shown he is aggressive enough to back a leg-spinner like Mishra. It would be tempting to play Harbhajan instead of one of the quicks but a varied, balanced attack is the key to winning test matches. 

Quicks – Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Bhuvi is a swing bowler who can bat (and his batting makes him more valuable in this line-up), Yadav is seriously quick and Ishant is an old head on young shoulders. Aaron misses out in our book.

The first test starts at Galle tomorrow.

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