Sri Lanka vs India 2017, 2nd Test: Preview, team news, line-ups, pitch and weather reports
After winning the first Test against hosts Sri Lanka by 304 runs, Virat Kohli's Indian team will look to seal the honours in the second Test as the series moves on to the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo.
Sri Lanka, led by Rangana Herath, were completely outplayed in all the three departments in the Galle Test. It all started with Shikhar Dhawan's brisk 190 before Pujara's 150 and some useful contributions from Ajinkya Rahane and Hardik Pandya took India to 600 in the first innings.
In reply, the hosts were bundled out for just 291 with Dilruwan Perera's unbeaten 92 the only bright spot for them. Deciding not to enforce the follow-on, India declared their second innings at 240/3 with skipper Virat Kohli scoring an unbeaten 103. Chasing 550 to win, Lanka were bowled out for just 245, handing India a big win.
Sri Lanka will look to put on a better show as they fight to stay alive in the series.
Venue: SSC, Colombo
Date: 3 August-7 August
India will welcome back their regular opener KL Rahul, who missed the first Test due to illness. Rahul's inclusion will give the selectors a big headache as both the openers who played the previous match made their case to retain a spot in the XI.
In all likelihood, Abhinav Mukund might miss out in spite of being the third choice opener in the squad before the inclusion of Dhawan, and scoring an 81 in the second innings.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have a lot of injury concerns in spite of their regular skipper Dinesh Chandimal returning. Their premier bowler Rangana Herath injured the middle finger of his left hand while fielding in the first Test and didn't come out to bat as a precautionary measure.
All-rounder Asela Gunaratne suffered a wrist injury in the first session of the Galle Test and has been ruled out of the series. The likes of Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Dhamikka Prasad and Kusal Perera are still recovering from their respective injuries.
The selectors have recalled batsman Lahiru Thirimanne to replace Gunaratne in the squad, but the left-hander might not feature in the playing XI as left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara is all set to make his Test debut.
Pitch and weather
According to reports, the wicket at the SSC is drier than the pitch at Galle. It also had a good amount of dead grass holding the surface together, but the groundsmen removed that today, a day before the start of the Test. Usually, the wicket at the venue starts turning from day three and we can expect the same in this Test as well. The captain who wins the toss will look to bat first and put a huge total on the board.
In what is some bad news for the fans, rain is expected to make an appearance on all five days of the Test.
In the 39 matches the teams have played against each other, India are way ahead of their rivals, having won 17 and lost 7, while 15 matches ended in a stalemate.
After losing to Australia in the first Test in Pune, Virat Kohli's men went on to win two of the next three matches against the Aussies and got the better of Sri Lanka in their previous match.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have lost three out of their last five Tests.
When India toured Sri Lanka the last time, R Ashwin was India's best bowler as he ran through the Lankan batting order in all the three matches. Since then, he has been a completely different bowler. Though he bowled well in the first Test, he picked just four wickets in the whole match, below par by his standards. He will look to hit top form in the second Test and make amends for his failure in the previous match.
KL Rahul was India's best batsman in the team's last Test series against Australia before he went under the knife to treat an injured shoulder. Making a comeback after almost five months, a lot is expected from the Karnataka batsman at the top of the order. Skipper Kohli has a lot of faith in him and he would like to repay it by scoring big runs on his return.
Sri Lanka's premier bowler Rangana Herath struggled in the Galle Test. The slow left-arm spinner was taken to the cleaners by Dhawan and managed to take just one wicket in the whole match. The Lankan team management will hope he comes good in the second Test if they are to have a chance of staying alive in the series.
Former Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews looked good in the first innings of the previous Test and in the second innings, played a wild shot to get out cheaply. Being Sri Lanka's most experienced player, a lot is expected from the all-rounder and the fact that he is not bowling in the series means he has to make up for it with the bat in his hands.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Malinda Pushpakumara, Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Pradeep.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav.