Axar, who has played 30 One-Day Internationals and seven Twenty20 Internationals, is yet to play a Test match. He recently played an important role in India A’s triumphant campaign in the tri-series in South Africa where the Men in Blue thrashed the hosts by 7 wickets in the final on Tuesday (August 8). The 23-year finished the series with seven wickets.
And although Axar looked in good form during the ODI series in South Africa, it looks like Kuldeep Yadav will be replacing Jadeja in the playing eleven. The chinaman spinner has impressed one and all in the limited opportunities he has got and was the highest wicket-taker during the ODI series against West Indies. He also had an impressive outing in the two-day warm-up game against Sri Lanka Board President’s XI, picking up 4 wickets.
Meanwhile, Jadeja, who was the Man of the Match for his all-round show in the second Test at Colombo, was suspended by the International Cricket Council for one match after the 28-year old, already with three demerit points, earned three more after he was found guilty of breaching article 2.2.8 of the player’s code of conduct which deals with “throwing a ball (or any other item of cricket equipment such as a water bottle) at or near a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire, Match Referee or any other third person in an inappropriate and/or dangerous manner during an International Match”. Jadeja had thrown the ball in a ‘dangerous manner’ towards the batsman during Sri Lanka’s second innings in Colombo. Jadeja admitted to the offence and accepted the punishment.
India have already sealed the three-match series by winning the first two Tests and would be keen to continue the winning streak.
India’s squad for the Pallekele Test:
Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.