Preview: Ist Test: India eye a dominant show

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India will be eyeing a dominant show against Sri Lanka

Kolkata, November 15: India would look to continue their recent success against Sri Lanka when the Asian rivals meet in the first Test here at the Eden Gardens on Thursday (November 16).

In August, Sri Lanka were annihilated 9-0 across all formats in their own den by a ruthless India led by Virat Kohli.

Since then, the men in blue have won limited overs series against Australia and New Zealand at home, while Sei Lanka -- still in transition after the retirements of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara -- triumphed 2-0 over Pakistan in Tests only to lose five ODIs and three T20s against them.

While Kohli's last big score came way back in February against Bangladesh where he struck 204, Ajinkya Rahane has not got a hundred since his 188 against the Kiwis in Indore last year.

Kohli has not got a half-century in his last five Test innings, and Rahane has been guilty of not converting his starts.

Both of them practised a lot of reverse and paddle sweeps at the nets in the build-up to the Test.

Kohli, who has been dismissed trying to drive on the front foot of late and playing away from his body, even got the handle of his bat trimmed during nets on Monday to rectify his drive.

Rain could play a spoilsport at Eden Gardens

Rahane, on the same day, was seen fine tuning his reverse-swep against chinaman Kuldeep Yadav square and fine of the wicket, a weapon the right-hander might use against veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.

India have been aggressive against Herath, Sri Lanka's highest wicket-taker in the team, in recent past.

In the last two years, the 39-year old who has 405 scalps, has averaged 53.61 against India, taking 13 wickets in four Tests and giving away 3.58 runs per over.

It goes without saying that Herath will be skipper Dinesh Chandimal's go-to man besides Angelo Mathews who is making a comeback.

In their batting, opener Dimuth Karunarate has been among runs in Pakistan (306 runs in 4 innings). Fellow opener Sadeera Samarawickrama, slated to replace Kaushal Silva who is not here, gave a good audition in the tour match with a strokeful 74 of just 77 balls.

Sri Lanka will require a good effort from Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath

Coming back to India, with in form all-rounder Hardik Pandya rested for this series it will be interesting to see who takes his place.

Going by the nature of the pitch which is expected to be a sporting one, India could play five bowlers with three seamers in their ranks.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been in good form of late, could come into the picture alongside Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami.

R Ashwin and Kuldeep are the likely two spinners, meaning Ravindra Jadeja might have to sit out.

Squad: India: Virat Kohli (Captain), KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma.

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Thirimanne, Niroshan Dickwella (wicket-keeper), Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Roshen Silva.

Live on: Star Sports 1 & 3 from 9.30 am onwards

Story first published: Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 15:52 [IST]
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