India vs Sri Lanka: These key factors could play huge roles during Nagpur Test
As India take on Sri Lanka in the second Test of their three-match series in Nagpur today, let's take a look at some vital factors that can play a huge role in the fate of both teams
As India take on Sri Lanka in the second Test of their three-match series in Nagpur today, let's take a look at some vital factors that can play a huge role in the fate of both teams.
Cheteshwar Pujara. Pic/ PTI
The primal question - How will the pitch play? It's unlikely to be as good a friend of the seamers as the one in Kolkata. But the relaid surface should offer enough for the bowlers to remain relevant. According to both Virat Kohli and Dinesh Chandimal, it's your archetypal Test pitch, with something in it for the pacers to begin with, but one that's largely good to bat on the first three days, with some assistance for the spinners on the final two days. Although, after the pitch here was deemed 'poor' by the ICC following the Test against South Africa that finished inside three days, it's unlikely to be a raging turner either.
It's hard to say whose moral victory it was in Kolkata, given that India, who were expected to win comprehensively, ended on top without actually emerging victorious. And Sri Lanka, who were written off, dominated majority of the Test, before it slipped out of their grasp like quicksand.
India have had to make a couple of forced changes. Both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan have opted out of the Test for personal reasons. While Murali Vijay is Dhawan's automatic replacement at the top of the order, the void left by Bhuvneshwar might be trickier to fill.
Vijay Shankar, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder, who was drafted into the squad, following Bhuvneshwar's withdrawal, is in line for a debut. While he may not be a like for like replacement, given that he is a batting all-rounder, with spinners likely to play a much larger role here, he fits the bill perfectly as the third seam bowler. Besides, in light of the team's assertions that they are preparing with one eye on the upcoming overseas assignments, it's important to ascertain what Shankar brings to the table. Kohli, too, said that it was a big moment for the all-rounder and that he had earned his spot in the squad.
Sri Lanka's concerns
Sri Lanka were parched for bowling options in the second innings in Kolkata. Suranga Lakmal had very little support from his colleagues. Had they not been so overdependent on their premier fast bowler, Sri Lanka could have pushed their luck and upset India's apple cart. Vishwa Fernando, who is a left-arm pacer could lend their attack some variety.
However, their concerns run deeper than the lack of depth in the pace bowling department. Sri Lanka are yet to find Dimuth Karunaratne's co-star at the top. Since 2015, they have tried as many as seven options alongside Karunaratne with a paltry return of just two hundreds. Furthermore, Sri Lanka need more than just pretty fifties from their batting unit, as Angelo Mathews had said during the first Test, after he and Lahiru Thirimanne were dismissed in their fifties.
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