India vs Sri Lanka 2017, 1st Test: Preview, lineups, timing, pitch and weather, live stream and TV info
Match details of the first game between India and Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens starting November 16.
Perhaps only Ekta Kapoor’s TV serials have more reruns in one year than the recurrent India-Sri Lanka Test matches, a contest that is as nugatory, as it is lop-sided. Walking face first into India’s proud home record, the Sri Lankans have more to do than just avenge the defeats of their July-August home leg: the island nation has failed to win a single Test in India in the last 17 years.
Sri Lanka seems to be India’s pre-Christmas snack, for the nine-nil multi-format annihilation that the Lankans endured at home would have melted even Scrooge’s heart. Yet, on the other side of the year stands their biggest test in the recent past, one that’ll yank India out of the comfort of its endearing home record and shove it into the midst of bouncy pitches in sub-Saharan Africa.
Match: 1st Test, 16-20th November
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Start time: 9:30 a.m.
For telecast: Star Sports 1,3, HD1, HD3, Hotstar
You can follow the full ball-by-ball text commentary on Sportskeeda here.
Pitch and weather
Back in Kolkata, the Eden pitch resembles the gardens of its biblical namesake: there is enough grass on the sporting surface to assist pacers, and the overcast conditions will further aid in swinging the ball. Goddess Durga has been replaced by Lord Indra: with the end of the Puja season, sporadic rains have found their way to the City of Joy, even resulting in the cancellation of India’s practice session a day before the game’s start.
A happy headache for the home side is the larder full of openers in the squad: one of KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay will have to make way, despite none having done anything wrong in the longest format. Dhawan’s comeback has been a bed of roses. He compiled 358 runs in three Tests against the same opponents a few months back, and will be making a strong case despite the return of the ever-reliable Vijay.
Three pacers would be the way to go, as the Ravichandran Ashwin-Ravindra Jadeja spin duette returns, with no Hardik Pandya in the squad to reprise the all-rounder’s duties.
39-years young Rangana Herath, enjoying a jolly pre-retirement carnival, could be playing his last series in India, and would want to rectify his previous efforts in the country, having picked up just 11 wickets from three games thus far. The batting workload will be shared by Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne, who managed to stay afloat even as the rest of the batsmen tried to surf in a tsunami and drowned in the home Tests.
Perennially injury troubled, Angelo Mathews won’t have the pleasure of getting to roll his arm, but his immense experience of playing on Indian soil will help the young side, even in his new capacity as a non-captaining specialist batsman.
Starting with the Test at Galle in August 2015, to the Pallekele game exactly two years later, India has won the previous five Tests against Sri Lanka, recording massive margins in each of its victories. Kohli was captain for all the five games.
India (first two Tests): Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Dimuth Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Rangana Herath, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Gamage, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Roshen Silva.