India were all over Sri Lanka when the two nations met one another in the island nation a few months back. Virat Kohli and his men beat Sri Lanka 9-0, defeating the hosts in all formats convincingly. Things will only get further difficult for Sri Lanka, who will face India in the first Test of the tour at Eden Gardens in Kolkata from Thursday.
It seems to be a big mismatch. India have some of the world's best players while Sri Lanka, after the retirement of their stalwarts, are a struggling unit. Can Sri Lanka pull off an upset win over India in Kolkata?
India, no doubt, are massive favourites. They head into this series with an impeccable home record, beating the likes of New Zealand, England and Australia in the last 12 months when it comes to Test cricket. No wonder, they are the number one ranked Test side in the world.
A number of India players would be looking at this Test series as a chance to prepare for 2018, which could be a much tougher year, with India playing abroad too. India will travel to South Africa next, which is always a huge challenge.
Despite India, who will play with their strongest team with all players fit, being a superior and in-form team, vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane is in no mood to take the visitors lightly.
"Sri Lanka have been preparing really well, so we can't take them lightly. We are just concentrating on this series. This series is completely different compared to how we played in Sri Lanka. We know the conditions here. We had a good series in Sri Lanka. For us every match and series is important before going to South Africa. We are just focusing on this series right now, more specifically the first Test here in Calcutta," Rahane said.
With players like Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Umesh Yadav and R Ashwin, they have all their departments covered. Sri Lanka is aware of the need to play some brilliant game and maybe even outstanding cricket to beat India.
The visitors might have lost badly against India in their last meeting, but Sri Lanka comes into this series as a confident unit after beating Pakistan 2-0. However, they do realise India are a different breed altogether, who are on top of their game.
Sri Lanka have always found India difficult to handle in India even when the island nation were a strong unit. They have not won a single Test match in India, which explains their situation.
If they are to beat India for the first time ever, Sri Lanka will need all their players to come to the party. Experienced campaigners like Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne and Rangana Herath need to shoulder responsibility.
"We did really well against Pakistan and the boys are in a good shape. We know India are the number one team at the moment and have seen them play some really good cricket in the last two years. This will be a challenging series for us. We have never won a Test in India. So it's a dream for us to win one this time. We need to start well in this series," Chandimal said.
Where and when to watch live
India vs Sri Lanka 1st Test is slated for 9:30 pm IST. Live TV and streaming options are as follows.
India: Star Sports 1/3. Live streaming: Hotstar
Sri Lanka: Star Sports.
UK: Sky Sports Cricket. Live streaming: Sky Go
US: Willow TV. Live streaming: Willow TV Online