India Sri Lanka 2nd Test
India will want to maintain their good form, while Sri Lanka will try and bounce back when the two teams play the third and final Test matchReuters

The Test series between India and Sri Lanka has so far been gripping and tremendously entertaining. With the series tied at 1-1 (how, India will wish they could have that Day 4 of the first Test back), it that clichéd phrase of "all to play for" when the third Test comes knocking from Friday at the SSC in Colombo.

India have dominated around 80-90% of this Test series, with only that little blip late on Day 3 and then in the morning on Day 4 of the first Test, keeping this series level, rather than 2-0 to the away team.

Sri Lanka, of course, should be given great credit for showing that never-give-up attitude in the first Test, but, unfortunately for them, when it came to the second Test, the match that was their legend Kumar Sangakkara's last ever game, the pressure proved to be too much.

With the "Sangakkara farewell series" feeling now gone, it might even loosen up Sri Lanka's players a little more, because they will now not have that pressure of wanting to give their now-former teammate the perfect sendoff.

However, what Sri Lanka should be wary of also is having a hangover from the emotional second Test, where Sangakkara said goodbye with a lump-in-your-throat speech, that, no doubt, would have brought a tear and more to all of the Sri Lanka players' eyes.

The Sri Lanka batsmen need to figure out a way to play R Ashwin better and get back to that aggressive zone that worked so well for them in the second innings of the first Test in Galle.

If they can negate Ashwin and score runs at a fair clip, they can put pressure on the India bowling. And if the India bowlers are put under pressure, it automatically spills over their batting as well, which, despite solid efforts in both innings of the second Test, still have quite a few chinks.

Those chinks would have grown a bit more as well following the losses of Murali Vijay and Wriddhiman Saha – Shikhar Dhawan was already missing after the first Test – with Cheteshwar Pujara and Naman Ojha looking like the likely replacement.

Pujara will be under extra pressure to perform having failed to make the playing XI in the first two Test matches, while Ojha (or Karun Nair) will be making his Test debut.

Put the batsmen under pressure, and Sri Lanka will sniff a win.

However, if India control the match from Day 1, like they did in that second Test, this could very well turn out to be their first series win in Sri Lanka in 22 years.

3rd Test Schedule: Friday, 28 August-Tuesday, 1 September: India vs Sri Lanka (10 am local time, 10 am IST, 5.30 am BST, 12.30 am ET) at Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo.

Session timings: 1st session (all local times/IST): 10 am-12 pm.

2nd session: 12.40 pm to 2.40 pm.

3rd session: 3 pm to 5 pm (day can be extended by a further half hour).

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