India have successfully managed to beat Sri Lanka on their own patch in a dominating way as they registered 9-0 win which over all three formats. Now, it's Sri Lanka's turn to tour India with the first Test starting tomorrow and both the teams will want to start the series on a winning note.
Ahead of the game, Sourav Ganguly claimed that the Eden Gardens pitch will give a good competition and also suggested that India should play with the three pacers.
Here is the predicted XI
KL Rahul – He was the star of the show against Austraila earlier this year where he scored six half-centuries in seven innings. But an injury in the final Test meant that he was sidelined for most of the year. He made his return to the side against Sri Lanka where he notched up two half-centuries in as many innings in a bid to reclaim his place in the side.
Shikhar Dhawan – He had to sit out of the Test format for a while after a string of bad performances. However, he made a comeback in the Sri Lanka series where he scored a couple of centuries and was unlucky to miss out on a double century in Galle. With Murali Vijay staking his claim as well, it could well be a flip of a coin for the duo.
Cheteshwar Pujara – Pujara has been absolutely brilliant at home where he averages a cool 63.56. Along with Kohli, he might just be the only player whose participation in the longest format is guaranteed.
Virat Kohli – Need we say more? The Indian skipper has been sensational in the home season. His four consecutive double centuries in four consecutive series is a testimony to that. While he only scored one century in Sri Lanka, he is chasing the record of the most number of consecutive series wins as captain, there is no way the captain doesn't get the nod for this one.
Ajinkya Rahane – When it comes to Test cricket, Ajinkya Rahane has been in a class of his own. His stoic nature and insufferable consistency in the longest format makes him one of the most reliable batting options for the team. With a big series against South Africa on the horizon, Team India will want their overseas batsman to be in the best possible shape.
Wriddhiman Saha - Ever since taking over the wicket-keeping reins from MS Dhoni in Test cricket, Wriddhiman Saha has been a constant figure in the Indian whites doing a stellar job behind the stumps, in particular, and making some crucial contributions in front of it too. In the 28 Test matches that he has been a part of, Saha has effected 66 dismissals, including 56 catches and 10 stumpings to his name while averaging a cool 32.70 with the bat.
Ravindra Jadeja - In the last couple of years, Jadeja’s bowling has come of age and he has stepped out of R Ashwin’s giant shadow to carve a distinct niche for himself. Jadeja is no longer merely the holding bowler, but a serious wicket-taker in his own right. The left-arm spinner’s ability to bowl quicker through the air has given him seriously incisive strings, and on the surface which provides a little purchase for the spinners, he proved that he can be deadly dangerous with his accurate stump-to-stump target.
Ravichandran Ashwin – For all the inconsistent performances in the ODI cricket, Ashwin has still been the Numero Uno spinner around in Test cricket. Against Sri Lanka, the Tamil Nadu man has a very good record and it is only matter of time he smashes the Lankans with his bowling. The added bonus of becoming the quickest player to claim 300 wickets would also spur him in the upcoming series.
Mohammad Shami – Injury and Shami go hand in hand ever since 2015. But with Ganguly claiming that the Eden wicket would be pacer friendly, he might just get the nod ahead of an extra spinner.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – He has come good in the limited overs cricket lately and has been the mainstay of the Indian team. He will try to do same in the Test format as well.
Umesh Yadav – Yadav’s sustained pace and hostility have been much celebrated by the experts lately and it would be shame to leave him out considering the challenges that lie ahead. India need to get their team ready for the South African series where pacers could have a big part to play.
Shoaib Malik or Johnson Charles? Who will score more runs?
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