After a record win in the Nagpur Test, India will surely be oozing with confidence going into the third Test to be played at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. After losing the toss in Nagpur, India hardly put a foot wrong in the second test. The Test win was well garnished by individual milestones and performances and as a cumulative, India clearly outclassed Sri Lanka on the cricket field. With a 1-0 lead in the 3 Test Series, India will be rest assured that they cannot lose it from here but recent form and team dynamics hint that India might very well make it 2-0 in the third test.
Sri Lanka on the other side has had a topsy-turvy series so far. Although they did manage to scare India in the initial days of the first test, they somehow just managed to draw the test on the last day with only 3 wickets remaining when the play was called off on the final day, due to bad lighting conditions. In the second test in Nagpur, Sri Lanka failed to put up a fight right from Day 1, being dismissed for just 205 runs in a fairly good batting surface. The same concern was shown by Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal at the post match presentation. "It was a good toss to win. Unfortunately, we were outplayed from the first day of the game. Our batting unit let us down again. You have to score at least 350 plus against India to win or even stay in it for five days," said Chandimal. Apart from their batting concerns, skipper Chandimal backed his bowlers stating that there is not much that they could have done on a good batting surface after being dismissed before stumps on Day 1. After a dismal show in the second Test, Sri Lanka will look to better their performance in the Delhi Test, working on what went wrong in the previous two test matches.
India on the other hand are enjoying a winning habit. Virat Kohli will travel to South Africa, next year, without having lost a single series under his leadership in the longest format of the game and they will look to go for the kill in the final test, at the same time, keeping in mind, mission South Africa. If India manages to win the series though, it would be a record equalling ninth consecutive series victory for India.
A lot will depend on the Delhi wicket, where the pitch is expected to suit the seam bowlers ably aided by the winter breeze of the capital city. This has been part of Indian team’s strategy to prepare for the South African series, expected to be India’s first stern test in quite a while. The earlier impressions suggest that the wicket is grassier than Nagpur but not quite a replica of the Eden Gardens deck, which according to skipper Virat was one the "liveliest" wickets he has ever played on.
With Bhuvneshwar not available for selection and Shami having a hamstring injury, team management might be keen on giving Delhi captain Ishant Sharma another match at his home ground, which is better suited for his style of bowling than Nagpur wicket. Sri Lanka will miss the services of veteran spinner Rangana Herath who complained of a sore back. Herath has been replaced by Jeffrey Vandersay and he might make his way into the playing 11.
An exciting test match is on the cards, this weekend.
2 December, 2017, Saturday 9:30 AM
Live from Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
India: Virat Kohli(c), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Vijay Shankar
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal(c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Gamage, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Niroshan Dickwella, Roshen Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay