rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » History beckons Team India at Kandy as they eye series clean sweep

History beckons Team India at Kandy as they eye series clean sweep

August 11, 2017 14:32 IST

High on confidence, Team India will look take sweep the series with a win in the 3rd Test in Kandy

IMAGE: High on confidence, Team India will look take sweep the series with a win in the 3rd Test in Kandy. Photograph: BCCI

Virat Kohli and his men stand on the cusp of history, aiming to become the first Indian cricket team to complete a whitewash in an overseas three-Test series when they meet a below-par Sri Lanka in the third and final Test match, starting in Kandy on Saturday.

India have won the first two Tests by comprehensive margins -- by 304 runs in Galle and an innings and 53 runs in Colombo.

The island nation, which has been going through a transition for quite some time, has decided to roll-out a green top with an aim to salvage some pride from the inconsequential game.

Their saving grace could be inclement weather after a spell of showers led to India's practice session being cancelled today.

By including pacers Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Gamage in their squad, replacing the injured duo of Nuwan Pradeep and Rangana Herath, the Lankans are aiming to strike back with pace.

Two days before the match, it was difficult to differentiate the 22-yards from the lush green outfield of the Pallekele stadium.

Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar is likely to get a look for the dead rubber

IMAGE: Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar is likely to get a look for the dead rubber. Photograph: BCCI

The nature of the pitch may prompt Kohli to play his third specialist seamer in Bhuvneshwar Kumar in place of the suspended Ravindra Jadeja. Bhuvneshwar has done well in the few chances he has got in the Test team during the Kohli era.

For seaming conditions, he has been Kohli's 'Go To Man'.

However, there is a possibility that Bhuvneshwar, with his decent batting ability, will replace Hardik Pandya, and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav playing as the second spinner.

Wrist spinner Kuldeep did wonderfully well on a bouncy Dharamsala track against Australia, where his four first innings wickets proved to be decisive.

The 28 Tests in which he has captained India so far, Kohli has not fielded the same Playing XI. The pattern is unlikely to change in the 29th Test as well.

How big a 3-0 series win will be is still debatable considering the quality of the opposition. But considering that India have never won a full Test series, 85 years since their debut in 1932, it will be praiseworthy if they go on to win the final Test of the series.

It will be interesting to note that India also do not have too many clean sweeps at home to show for their efforts.

In all, India have played four such series where they have won all Test matches.

Two such series were under Mohammed Azharuddin's captaincy -- 3-0 against England in 1993 and an identical margin versus Sri Lanka in 1994.

Will Abhinav Mukund play another Test in this series

IMAGE: Will opener Abhinav Mukund play another Test in this series. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India outplayed Australia 4-0 in the 2013 home series while Kohli led the side during the 3-0 rout of New Zealand, last year.

Among their memorable overseas Test series (two or more victories) wins will be the Kapil Dev-led side winning 2-0 in a three-match series in England in 1986, beating Pakistan 2-1 in 2004, 2-1 in Sri Lanka in 2015 and the first one -- 3-1 in New Zealand under Tiger Pataudi way back in 1967-68.

When it came to two Test series, India have won 2-0 in Bangladesh (2004-05), Zimbabwe (2005-06) and Bangladesh again (2009-10).

A win in the third Test will also strengthen chief coach Ravi Shastri's claim that "this team is capable of breaking new ground".

It will be interesting if the team management decides to shuffle the combination now that they have won the series.

They may think of giving Abhinav Mukund another chance while Rohit Sharma is still waiting to play his first Test since October.

Teams:

India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, K L Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Axar Patel.

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Upul Tharanga, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjay de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Gamage, Lakshan Sandakan, Malinda Pushpakumara.

Match starts at: 10am IST. 

© Copyright 2017 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.