India take on Sri Lanka in the third and final Test of the ongoing series at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi from Saturday, December 2. | Team News and Playing conditions |
The hosts are heading into the match after thrashing Sri Lanka by an innings and 239 runs in the second Test in Nagpur that helped them go 1-0 up after the drawn Test in Kolkata. India are now eyeing a world record of nine consecutive series wins, which will help them equal Australia's record between 2005 and 2008.
Even before the start of the Sri Lanka series, India started talking about preparations for their South Africa tour (starting January 5). It clearly shed light on the lack of context in the ongoing rubber, especially after India blanked Sri Lanka 9-0 on their recent tour to the island nation.
However, buoyed by their Test series win against Pakistan in the UAE, Sri Lanka fought well in the rain-curtailed first Test in Kolkata to earn a draw only to let India assert their dominance easily in Nagpur.
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Sri Lanka will be looking to put some pressure on the hosts, but they will have to punch above their weight as India have not lost a Test at the Kotla since 1990. Angelo Mathews' poor form has hurt the visitors and they will need their most experienced man leading from the front to stand a chance of troubling the hosts.
Moreover, injury to their star spinner Rangana Herath has come as a big blow. In Herath's absence, Sri Lanka have the option of handing a Test cap to 27-year-old leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay. They can also slot in left-arm wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan, but the latter's inability to hold an end will work against his favour.
On the other hand, India will have to make a tough decision over their opening combination as Shikhar Dhawan is available for selection and is likely to replace in-form KL Rahul and partner last match's centurion Murali Vijay.
Umesh Yadav is likely to make way for fit-again Mohammed Shami. All eyes will be on Ishant Sharma as well as the local lad will look to build on his impressive comeback in Nagpur.
It will also be interesting to see how the pitch plays out as Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal had mocked India's talks of preparation for South Africa by saying the wicket looked much-like the Nagpur track, which means spinners will come into the play after the first two days.
Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Vijay Shankar
Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Gamage, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Roshen Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay