Sri Lanka will have a lot of mixed emotions tomorrow when they take on India in Colombo. As a team which stunned India, they will be high on morale. For innumerable fans, it will be the last opportunity to see their beloved former captain Kumar Sangakkara, who will bid farewell to a glorious career after this Test. India, on the contrary, would like to learn the lessons and forget the debacle so as to stay positive. While both the teams gear up to lock horns again, here are our expectations from the second Test.
What will be on Kohli’s mind?
Learning from their mistakes at Galle, Indian skipper Virat Kohli and his team would be trying to start afresh tomorrow with a list of What-Not-To-Do’s at the back of their minds. Two bad sessions handed them a devastating defeat and thus, all eyes would be on what techniques Kohli employs to overpower Sri Lanka. India lost the toss at Galle and wanted to bat first, so the first obstacle would be to have two parallel plans to pressurize Sri Lanka in either scenario.
Attack versus defence
Ravi Shastri recently remarked that the team will continue playing fearless cricket and will not change their approach of attacking in the second India vs Sri Lanka match in Colombo. While the determination is a sign of mental strength, fans and cricket pundits would disagree. This is primarily because the inability to defend against Dinesh Chandimal fatally injured India’s chances of keeping Lanka on backfoot. Angelo Mathews’ squad, on the other hand, would be looking to use the advantage of the 1-0 lead and give Sangakkara a retirement present by winning this Test as well.
Six-five or Seven-four?
Many have cited India’s decision to play six batsmen and five bowlers for the collapsing batting line-up in the 2nd innings of the India vs Sri Lanka match at Galle. And with the inclusion of all-rounder Stuart Binny, it looks like Kohli will be keeping this ratio intact. India’s bowling was the primary reason they could take the upper hand in the first innings. Restricting a team with players like Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews to 183 was a huge accomplishment, but not all the bowlers were contributors. Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra were responsible for dismissing the opposition.
Spinners versus Seamers
In the inaugural India vs Sri Lanka Test, the most experienced bowler Harbhajan Singh could only manage one wicket out of the twenty. This might lead to reconsiderations pertaining to the spinners making the cut for Colombo. Although the Galle pitch greatly aided the spinners, the P. Sara Oval stadium has been regarded as a seam-friendly pitch. This might make Kohli change the combination in the playing eleven and pacers might be given longer spells. While Galle saw out and out dominance by spinners, Colombo could witness fast bowlers distressing the opposition.
Possible Playing Eleven
Much to India’s misfortune and disappointment, star opener Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out soon after the first Test. Thankfully, Murali Vijay has recovered and was seen practicing at the nets. Cheteshwar Pujara could be called in to provide stability to middle-order, and Stuart Binny might replace Harbhajan Singh. Nuwan Pradeep could be kept out of the second India vs Sri Lanka Test due to a hamstring problem, thus resulting in the inclusion of Dushmantha Chameera or Vishwa Fernando. In case the opponents bat first, India’s focus would be at extracting regular wickets and keeping equal pressure at both ends to keep the momentum down.
Sri Lanka would be more difficult to face tomorrow because they have home advantage and they will be bidding farewell to Kumar Sangakkara. India, on the other hand, will leave no stone unturned to bounce back and win this second Test. The pitch has produced only four draws till date and is expected to conclude the match with a result. This is Kohli’s chance to prove his mettle as a Test captain in the India vs Sri Lanka archive who is capable of filling the big shoes of MS Dhoni.
Probable XI: Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara/Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahana, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Stuart Binny, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron.