India Vs Sri Lanka: Are the shrewd lions up for a colossal Indian challenge?

One thing led to another and World War happened, so is the issue with the Sri Lankan team’s downfall in the recently concluded three-match T20I series. Sri Lanka has lost all three matches from a position of advantage. Either their bowling or batting or both have failed them. The cause was aided by the absence of a few regulars. India on the other hand capitalized on the opportunity when it was presented. Shreyas Iyer led the onslaught from the front. Scoring a whopping 204 runs at a rate of 174.36, Iyer was unbeaten in all three of the matches. Well, what’s done is done, and now let us look forward to the upcoming two-match Test series.

Battered and bruised, Sri Lanka will definitely look to seethe their agony and carry out cold-blooded revenge. But what stands in between them and the glory is a strong-hold named India. Indian pitches are notorious for their spin-friendliness and the fact that they never let the teams play complete 5-day matches adds to their reputation. Teams like England and New Zealand have struggled to even get their bat on the ball, let alone post competitive totals. On the other hand, India has approached the conditions with intent and outclassed visiting sides by their mastery of spin. Ravichandran Ashwin is one name that is synonymous with the word ‘Maestro’. Ashwin is an old-school, orthodox finger-spinner with a brain as sharp as a royal katana. Known for giving his opponents a tough time as hell, Ashwin is lethal when left on such turning pitches.

Sri Lanka has their own share of troublesome spinners, but it is a debatable topic that can they deliver. Two matches are set to be played from 4th to 8th March and 12th to 16th March at PCA Stadium and M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, respectively.PCA Stadium was known to be a fast-paced pitch, back in the 1990s. Since then, the pitch has slowed down considerably. Now, it has become a good batting surface. Batsmen will definitely play a key role in the outcome of the first Test match. Moving on the second Test match is to be held at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Chinnaswamy is famous for several iconic batting displays, one of which was Chris Gayle’s 175* of 66 balls against Pune.

Captain Rohit Sharma will lead the batting department along with either Mayank AgarwalorShubman Gill. Shreyas Iyer or Priyank Panchal might slot themselves at #3 replacing a dropped Cheteshwar Pujara. At #4 will be India’s batting mainstay, Virat Kohli, who will be expected to anchor the Indian innings. Hanuma Vihari might be tried at #5, in the stead of Ajinkya Rahane. Rishabh Pant will occupy the #6 spot. Ravindra Jadeja and R. Ashwin will be slotted at #7 and #8 spots and will lead the spin department. The other positions will be occupied by the bowling department consisting of Md. Shami, Md. Siraj, Yadav trio of Umesh, Kuldeep, and Jayant, and the debutant Saurabh Kumar, led by Jasprit Bumrah. KS Bharat will provide the backup for Rishabh Pant if the latter couldn’t continue playing.

While the Indian side is brimming with talent and experience, the same cannot be said about their Islander neighbours. Sri Lanka will be depending on the likes of Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Pathum Nissanka, Angelo Mathews, Charith Asalanka, Chamika Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Dhananjaya de Silva to lead the batting line-up. Their bowling department includes the expertise of Dushmantha Chameera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Kumara, Lasith Embuldeniya, Praveen Jayawickrama, Suranga Lakmal, and Vishwa Fernando.

Sri Lanka has been largely inconsistent in recent years and is just a pale shadow of their former selves. India on the other hand, is a dominant force, and when it comes to home conditions, they are just unbeatable. India only has a fear of complacency affecting them whereas Sri Lanka has a really tough and tedious ‘test’ ahead of them. Whatever may be the case, the fireworks are surely going to be flying in the streets of cricket as modern-day legend Virat Kohli gears up for his 100th Test Match. Will Virat update his tally of centuries, or will the wait continue?

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