Upbeat after a demolition act in the second Test in Nagpur, Virat Kohli-led India will be eager to carry forward the momentum when they take on a below-par Sri Lanka in the third and final Test match at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on Saturday. The Kotla track may not be as flat as the one at Jamtha, where India scored a mammoth 610/6 declared but it also won’t be a green top like the one they got at the Eden Gardens. The last time New Delhi hosted a Test match was in 2015. At that time, it was rated as the best pitch in display during the series as the match against South Africa went deep into the fifth day.
India, who are leading the series 1-0, have made two changes to their playing XI, bringing in Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammed Shami in place of K.L. Rahul and Umesh Yadav.
Sri Lanka have made three changes to their side. They have dropped Rangana Herath, Lahiru Thirimanne and Dasun Shanaka and replaced them with Lakshan Sandakan, Dhananjaya de Silva and Roshen Silva, who will make his Test debut.
After the flop show in the first innings of the first Test, Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul enjoyed fruitful second innings with scores of 94 and 79, respectively. Murali Vijay, who was surprisingly kept out of playing XI for the opening Test, came into the side in the second game in Dhawan’s absence and scored a brilliant 128.
Now with Dhawan back in the squad, it is indeed a happy problem for skipper Kohli, who has to choose two quality openers among three. India are 1-0 up in the series which could have easily been 2-0 had Kohli and his men got an extra 45 minutes on the final day of the rain-curtailed first Test that ended in a draw.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.
Sri Lanka: Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal(c), Niroshan Dickwella (w), Roshen Silva, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lakshan Sandakan and Lahiru Gamage.