Hardik Pandya Makes Test Debut; Dhawan in for KL Rahul

Sri Lanka’s Asela Gunaratne out of India Test series with fractured thumb

CRICKET-SRI-IND | ISHARA S. KODIKARA AFP

India's Cheteshwar Pujara celebrates scoring a century during the first day's play of the first test cricket match between India and Sri Lanka in Galle, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, July 26, 2017.

Though conventional wisdom would suggest that the victor of the toss must bat first, Sri Lanka might be better off bowling.

Pandya's presence gives Kohli the desired balance in the team.

At one stage, the Sri Lanka had a one-day style fielding setting for him with only four fielders in thirty-yard circle while others were on the ropes to stop the boundaries. On the opening day of the series in Galle, he ran Sri Lanka's attack ragged, smashing 190, 126 of those coming in the second session.

The Sri Lankan skipper will face the burden of doing the bulk of the damage for his side against the likes of Kohli, Cheteswar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.

Adds ITW Consulting director M.S. Muralidharan: "At ITW, we have ensured that we bring in some latest and most innovative in-stadia technologies in cricket and other sports to ensure fans are engaged throughout the match with a crowd facing interactive display system".

Sri Lanka's newly appointed captain Dinesh Chandimal is not playing the match due to his health issues. Gunaratne played a vital knock in the only Test against Zimbabwe to save Sri Lanka for humiliation. Pujara and Virat Kohli were the two unbeaten batsmen.

KL Rahul's unavailability through illness has opened the door for the Test returns of Abhinav Mukund and Shikhar Dhawan, the left-handed opening duo. Sri Lanka showed no signs of improvement as they are yet to scalp another wicket.

Hardik Pandya is making his Test debut and accompany Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav to take care of the pace-bowling department as R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be the two spinners in the playing XI.

Kohli said, "The last time we think we might have probably lowered a batsman and the fifth bowler did not do much in the match. Even we have a game plan for each and every single Indian player", he said. "There is a good grass covering and we expect it to be a good batting wicket". "They are the number one team at the moment". Knowing that they had beaten India in the Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka will look to play freely as they have nothing to lose. India possesses one of the best bowling attacks in the world, and it could easily make things hard for the Lankans early on if they bat, who don't possess too much experience or confidence given recent results. The last time, we were in Galle and we lost and he really picked us up from that low point in our careers. "So we have to be more responsible", he reasoned.

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