New Delhi: An infinitely superior India will be eager to carry out yet another demolition act on a below-par Sri Lanka when the two teams clash in the third and final Test starting here Saturday. However, India have enough motivation to go for a victory. If they win the series, it will be the ninth successive Test series win for India, a feat achieved by England in the period 1884-1892 and by Ricky Ponting’s Australia (2005/6-2008).
India’s dominance has made the series a lop-sided affair and the aspect which will be most interesting to observe is the opening combination that the home team would pick.
After the batting debacle in the first innings of the first Test, Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul enjoyed a fruitful second innings with scores of 94 and 79 respectively. Murali Vijay, who was surprisingly kept out of playing XI for the first Test, came into the side in the second game in Dhawan’s absence to score 128.
Now with Dhawan back in the squad, it is indeed a happy problem for skipper Virat Kohli, who has to choose two quality openers among three. Had Kohli himself opted out of the third Test, then Rahul would have batted at No.4. However, with Kohli playing, it would mean that one of the openers will have to sit out.
A bold decision could have been to drop an out-of-form Rahane from the playing XI and accommodate all three but that could be detrimental to the Indian vice-captain’s confidence as he will be a vital cog in the wheel for India in overseas conditions.
With skipper Kohli himself questioning the need for such series in a roundabout manner, the unequal balance between the sides has been all too evident. No wonder, India would be ideally hoping to put up another dominant show, aiming for a finish inside four days.
Facing a Sri Lankan side, which has been nothing short of an embarrassment, is not the greatest of challenges but for World’s No. 1 Test side, it will be an opportunity to get some much required match practice, which they unfortunately won’t get in South Africa save a two-day game.
The Feroz Shah Kotla track may not be as flat as the one at Jamtha, where India scored 610/6 declared but it also won’t be a green top like the one they got at the Eden Gardens.
Chandimal slams Indian ‘strategy’
New Delhi: “I am not sure whether they (India) are preparing for South Africa,” Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal said while talking to reporters here Friday, as he took a dig at the Indian team’s claims of asking for bouncy tracks in the ongoing Test series.
“I am surprised they are saying they are preparing for South Africa but they are giving these pitches. This one at the Feroz Shah Kotla also looks similar to the one at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur. So I don’t understand, how they are preparing for South Africa,” the Sri Lankan skipper’s sarcasm was not lost on anyone.
Chandimal, however, was quick to point out that the team had failed to implement the strategy taken for the series. “We had decided that one who gets in should bat for long periods, However, we haven’t been able to do that, 50-60 runs and we have got out. That is simply not sufficient,” he asserted. “It’s no use blaming Angelo Mathews alone… we as a batting team have not delivered,” he added.
Press Trust of India