Rahul gets Kohli back­ing for Test re­turn against S Lanka

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Fit-again opener Lokesh Rahul has re­gained his place in In­dia’s cricket team to start the sec­ond Test against Sri Lanka to­day, skip­per Vi­rat Kohli said. Rahul, who missed the first Test triumph due to vi­ral fever, main­tains an im­pres­sive av­er­age of 44.44 in 17 Tests for In­dia. In­dia out­played the hosts by a record 304 runs in Galle, with open­ers Shikhar Dhawan and Ab­hi­nav Mukund putting in strong per­for­mances at the start of the three-match se­ries.

Speak­ing on the eve of the Colombo Test, Kohli made it clear that de­spite their stel­lar show­ing, one of the two open­ers will have to make way for Rahul, who is known as KL.

“Ob­vi­ously KL has been our es­tab­lished opener. I feel one of the open­ers will have to make way for KL,” Kohli said of the 25-yearold. “What he’s done in the past two years for us has been very solid, and he de­serves to come back and start fresh in Test cricket again.” Dhawan hit a bril­liant 190 in In­dia’s first in­nings in Galle and is ex­pected to re­tain his spot. That means Mukund is likely to miss out de­spite a gritty 81 in the sec­ond in­nings.

Rahul, who has hit four Test cen­turies and seven fifties, played a vi­tal role in In­dia’s se­ries win over Australia in March de­spite get­ting in­jured dur­ing the first match. “He has bat­ted re­ally well in the last cou­ple of sea­sons for us. As I said, it is very im­por­tant for us to make him feel that this is his spot,” said Kohli, who gave no other de­tails on the play­ing XI. Top-ranked In­dia are look­ing to seal the se­ries at the Sin­halese Sports Club Ground against Sri Lanka who will wel­come back skip­per Di­nesh Chandimal af­ter a bout of pneu­mo­nia.

Indian coach Ravi Shas­tri has talked up his team’s abil­i­ties, say­ing on Tues­day “a lot of big names have played for 20 years and they have come to Sri Lanka many times but they have never won a se­ries. This team has done that.” In­dia over­turned a 1-0 deficit to beat Sri Lanka in 2015 and reg­is­ter their first Test se­ries triumph in the is­land na­tion for 22 years. In­dia re­claimed the world num­ber one Test spot from arch-ri­vals Pak­istan last year.

— AFP

COLOMBO: In­dia’s crick­eter Lokesh Rahul eyes the ball as he plays a shot dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion at the Sin­halease Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo yes­ter­day. The sec­ond Test cricket match between In­dia and Sri Lanka starts in Colombo to­day.

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