Last Update on: November 14th, 2017 at 04:28 pm
With form being on their side, India will be looking to kick-start their home season in a grand style when they take on Sri Lanka in the first of the three-Test series starting on Thursday (November 16).
The hosts are yet to lose a Test series under Virat Kohli’s captaincy and will walk into the upcoming match as the firm favourites. Moreover, the 3-0 win over the Islanders a couple of months ago will also give the hosts a lot of confidence.
But at the same time, the high-flying hosts cannot take Sri Lanka lightly who will be oozing with confidence after the historic win against Pakistan in the United Arabia Emirates. The Islanders had gone to UAE after the heavy drubbing at the hands of India but stunned Pakistan to win both the Tests and inflict the first series-defeat on the hosts since they shifted base at the UAE in 2009.
Well, both the teams will be desperate to start the series on a winning note and are preparing earnestly for the same.
So here we are taking a look at the possible lineup with which India can play the series-opener in Kolkata:
1. KL Rahul:
After squandering his chances in the limited-overs format, Rahul will be looking to regain his form and the confidence in the tried and tested format. The Karnataka star had scored half-centuries in all of his last eight Test innings and will be backing himself to continue his form against the Islanders.
2. Murali Vijay:
The opening combination is set to give the team-management a big headache. In Murali Vijay’s absence, Shikhar Dhawan had done exceedingly well in Sri Lanka, finishing the series as the highest run-getter to press his claim for a regular spot in the playing eleven.
However, given the team’s policy of drafting the regular players straight in the first eleven after an injury, Vijay is looking likely to partner Rahul at the top.
3. Cheteshwar Pujara:
The Saurashtra batsman has warmed up for the upcoming season in some style, scoring 204 and 182 runs in the last two Ranji Trophy games. He was India’s highest run-scorer in the previous home season and will be keen to replicate that performance.
4. Virat Kohli (c):
The last time India played a Test series at home, Kohli had endured a torrid time, managing just 43 runs in three Tests during the Border Gavaskar series. But with the form on his side, Kohli will be looking to make amends for that horror show and will also be eyeing to extend his impressive track record as the Test skipper.
5. Ajinkya Rahane:
With his place in the limited-overs team far from being cemented, the Mumbai star will also hope for a stable series to impress the team management. Rahane did not have the best of outings in the Ranji Trophy, where he was dismissed for a duck twice in four innings and will be looking to get his form back on track against Dinesh Chandimal & Co.
6. Rohit Sharma:
With Hardik Pandya rested, Rohit Sharma is looking primed to return to the Test team. The right-handed batsman has not played in the longest format of the game since the Indore Test last year against New Zealand. He had missed the better part of the home season after suffering a thigh injury during the ODI series against New Zealand.
7. Wriddhiman Saha (wk):
Having done extremely well since replacing MS Dhoni behind the stumps, Saha will also be eyeing a strong game and the series before he embarks with the team on the tough tour of South Africa. With the match being at his home ground Eden Gardens, Saha will be eyeing to cash in on it.
8. Ravichandran Ashwin:
Ravichandran Ashwin will be returning to the Indian team for the first time since the Test series against Sri Lanka in August. An indispensable part of the Test team, the spin spearhead has surprisingly found him out of favour in ODIs and T20Is.
He will be looking to prove his worth. Meanwhile, he needs eight more wickets in the series to become the quickest to 300 Test wickets.
9. Ravindra Jadeja:
Just like Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja had also fallen down the pecking order in ODIs and T20Is but is an integral part of the Test team. He too will be desperate to make a big impression.
10. Mohammed Shami:
The last time India had played a Test at the Eden Gardens, local boy Shami had caused all sorts of trouble for New Zealand during the game in 2016. Displaying an excellent show of swing and reverse-swing, Shami had taken three wickets in each innings to help India beat the Kiwis by 178 runs and will be looking to replicate his performance.
11. Umesh Yadav:
One of the most impressive performers during the last home season, Umesh Yadav is also looking set to partner Shami and will be eyeing an excellent start to the season.
Also Read: (IND vs SL 2017: Rohit Sharma Picks Spain to Win 2018 FIFA World Cup)
(IND vs SL 2017: ‘To be Honest, I Asked for the Break’ – Hardik Pandya)