India would look to continue their ruthless streak while Sri Lanka would want to forget the annihilation suffered at home and chase what has been an improbable dream of winning a Test here when the two teams clash in a three-match series, starting here on Thursday.
There is a possibility of rain threat after home team’s morning practice session was called off after a spell of shower.
India had inflicted on Sri Lanka, a humiliating 9-0 whitewash across three formats even as they bounced back to secure a surprise 2-0 win against Pakistan in the UAE.
There will be no let up from Team India, who are taking this series as a preparation for the gruelling two-month long South Africa tour where they play three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is beginning with Cape Town Test on January 5.
Since that Test series in July-August, the hosts have played 13 ODIs and six Twenty20s but adjusting to the rigours of the longer-version of the game should not be an issue since most of the team members have played Ranji Trophy matches for their respective sides.
That the Islanders have not won a single Test in 16 appearances over 35 years (they first played in India in 1982) and travel with an inexperienced side will make the task onerous for skipper Dinesh Chandimal.
He will bank heavily on Angelo Mathews and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath – the two senior members who were part of the side which travelled here in 2009.
The Met office has predicted rain till November 18 under the influence of a well-marked low-pressure area that is making its way up the Bay of Bengal along the Indian coast and the series-opener may be a curtailed affair.
India look supremely confident at home barring a couple of selection dilemma looking at the Eden’s seemingly greentop strip which may pave the way for the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar in a likely three-plus-two bowling combination. Bhuvneshwar last played a Test against Australia in Dharamsala in March this year and looked in good rhythm during India’s practice sessions.
He will relish the conditions at the Eden where he picked up a five-wicket haul against New Zealand in the last Test played here in September 2016 as he may join the other two pace duo of Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami.
In the spin line-up, India may stick to their third Test line-up in Pallekele where chinaman Kuldeep Yadav made way for left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
The chinaman not only rolled his arm at the nets but had an extended batting session but it remains to be seen if India leaves out Jadeja, who is also a handy option with the bat.
Murali Vijay is back after recovering from a wrist injury that had left him out of the Sri Lanka tour. The Tamil Nadu opener is confident after his 140 against Odisha in Cuttack but was not seen much in action during practice, an indication that Kohli may stick to Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul up front.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored two centuries in Sri Lanka, not only gives the Indian batting solidity but has a calming effect on the team with his penchant for marathon innings.happy wheels
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