S Lanka un­likely to break Test duck in In­dia

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

MUM­BAI: Sri Lanka have never won a test in In­dia and with Vi­rat Kohli’s men on a run of near-flaw­less home form the vis­i­tors are un­likely to break their duck in a three­match se­ries start­ing in Kolkata to­mor­row.

In a bumper home sea­son, which started in Septem­ber 2016, In­dia won 10 of 13 Test matches, with their soli­tary de­feat com­ing against Steve Smith’s Aus­tralia.

Even on home ground Sri Lanka have strug­gled against In­dia, los­ing 9-0 across all three for­mats in July and Au­gust. Un­der Kohli, the world’s top-ranked test side have won eight con­sec­u­tive se­ries dat­ing back to 2015, and Sri Lanka look in­ca­pable of stop­ping them from win­ning a ninth to tie Eng­land and Aus­tralia for the record for most con­sec­u­tive test se­ries wins.

Af­ter be­ing ham­mered at home by In­dia,

Sri Lanka then won a two-test se­ries against Pak­istan 2-0 in the United Arab Emirates but sub­se­quently lost all eight lim­ited-overs matches against the same op­po­nents. Their Test record in In­dia in­spires lit­tle con­fi­dence as they have failed to record a sin­gle vic­tory in 17 matches, the last of which was played eight years ago. Former cap­tain An­gelo Mathews and spin spear­head Ran­gana Herath were the only two cur­rent squad mem­bers who played a part in that 2009 se­ries and Sri Lanka will lean on them heav­ily once again. Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas hopes the play­ers have learned from the re­cent home se­ries white­wash but wants them to fo­cus on their own strengths in­stead of the Indian threat.

“The mis­take you can make here is come and be in­fat­u­ated with the Indian side and con­cen­trate too much on them,” Pothas said on the team’s ar­rival in In­dia. “We know they are a good side. We only played them a month ago. We have to con­cen­trate on our strengths and jobs, and if we can ex­e­cute them well it will be a chal­leng­ing se­ries. “The se­ries against In­dia was a huge learner for us. I also men­tioned that if we didn’t learn from a very good team then that would have been the big­gest er­ror.”

While Sri Lanka’s bowl­ing at­tack must find a way to stop the likes of Kohli and Chetesh­war Pu­jara from scor­ing heav­ily, their bats­men will have to con­tend with In­dia’s dual spin threat of Ravichan­dran Ashwin and Ravin­dra Jadeja. Most sides have found off-spin­ner Ashwin and lef­t­armer Jadeja too hot to han­dle but Sri Lanka might be in for an even rougher ride with the pair likely keen to prove a point af­ter be­ing over­looked by se­lec­tors for In­dia’s lim­ited-overs sides.—Reuters

KOLKATA: In­dia’s Shikhar Dhawan, right, and Cheteswar Pu­jara at­tend a prac­tice ses­sion prior to their first Test cricket match against Sri Lanka at Eden Gar­dens in Kolkata, In­dia, yes­ter­day. — AP

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