The first Test between India and Sri Lanka, despite losing some precious time due to rain, came to a thrilling end and acted as a perfect advertisement for the longer format. Both teams will once again face one another in the second Test at Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur on Friday, November 24.
India, without their key stars – Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (both released for personal reasons), will be forced to make some major changes in the bowling and batting departments.
Finding replacements for these players for the second Test should not be a problem. Vijay Shankar has been named as Bhuvneshwar's replacement, but the all-rounder might not get a game in with Murali Vijay waiting in the wings to open for India in the second Test.
Ishant Sharma is expected to replace Bhuvneshwar in the bowling line-up, which adds another variety in India's pace battery. This could prove to be an important test for Ishant, with India's tour of South Africa coming up early next year. An in-form Ishant will come in handy against the Proteas.
Besides these two changes, one does not see Virat Kohli making any change from the team that played in the first Test.
As far as Sri Lanka are concerned, they could go for the same batting line-up as was witnessed in the first Test. Their top order comprising Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Thirimanne have to share major responsibility too. However, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews are the backbone of the team.
It would be interesting to see if Sri Lanka will drop Lahiru Gamage and bring in Vishwa Fernando for his variety. He is regarded as a great prospect and his left-arm pace can trouble India as well.
With the first Test at Eden Gardens assisting seamers, the second match of the series might not witness the same. The 22-yard surface in Nagpur may support the spinners.
Likely playing XIs
India: Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal (c), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando.
Match starts 9.30 AM IST