Sri Lanka vs India 2017: Virat Kohli unfazed by changes to the pitch ahead of the final test
What's the story?
The Indian team’s pre-match practice session was washed out even as Virat Kohli’s troops prepared to take on Sri Lanka in the third and final test at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. The Indian team will look to sweep the series 3-0 against a disoriented Sri Lankan team.
Speaking ahead of the game, Indian skipper Virat Kohli wasn’t too concerned about the playing strip, which he has not yet seen. When asked if he had ever gone into a test match without having a look at the wicket a day before, Kohli said, “Not really I mean. It’s quite a different situation but the management has gone to the stadium to have a look. We heard there were some changes to the pitch so they have gone to check how things look at this stage, so we will have more clarity on what we need to go in with.
"But I haven’t yet really gone in without looking at the wicket at least 8-10 hours before the game before this. So it’s probably a different kind of situation.”
The Sri Lankan team must be itching to get back on the field and pull one up over India in the last and final test match. That the home team requested or even tailored the pitch to suit its strength is no big news. There have been enough instances in the past when the Indian team has done the same to visiting teams in the sub-continent.
Home teams have often tried to press the home advantage for their cause but there’s not much that can be done in an international game as the ICC’s pitch and outfield monitoring process established in 2006 has strict regulations when it comes to preparing the surface for the match.
The heart of the matter
Virat Kohli would have had a closer look had the practice session not be washed out. As he himself said, this would be the first time as a captain that he would go into the game without having a look the pitch 8-10 hours before the game. Although the management was on-site taking inputs on how the pitch was changed at the last minute, it still can’t beat the first-hand info that Kohli would have been apprised of had he been at the stadium himself.
Also, the washed up session might have robbed the Indian team of the last minute adjustments before the game, it might actually be good for a number of bowlers who have carried the majority of the workload.
Whatever plans India have locked and loaded will not change one bit, no matter if the deck plays flat from start or not. The team will need to adapt to the nature of playing strip because that's just how international cricket is played nowadays.
Although the green square drastically changed colours after it was mowed twice revealing a flatter deck for the final game, changes to the pitch just before the game is not something that the Indian team will lose sleep over.
However, it will play up on the minds of the players if it plays uncharacteristically on the opening day of the test match.
With chinaman Kuldeep Yadav expected to take the place of Jadeja in the game tomorrow, the pitch might actually just end up playing into the hands of the Indians.