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India vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test Preview: India hit reset in Kohli's 100th and Rohit's first Test as captain

India's Jasprit Bumrah celebrates
India's Jasprit Bumrah celebrates
©REUTERS
 

Jasprit Bumrah has been nominated the Indian vice-captain in the absence of KL Rahul.

LIVE SCORES -  India vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test

50% spectators permitted

There will be fans in the stands of the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali to witness Virat Kohli's 100 Test match and Rohit Sharma's first Test as India's permanent red-ball captain, with the PCA having allowed up to 50% spectators.

The first Test of the two-match series also marks the beginning of Jasprit Bumrah's chapter as part of the Indian leadership group. Bumrah has been designated the vice-captain for this match. Having played just two Test matches in India, the responsibility will mean that he has to play a lot more cricket in the subcontinent, something he has not done too much till now.

Onus on Karunaratne

Sri Lanka will be led by the bankable Dimuth Karunaratne who has been a rock for Sri Lanka at the top of the order. It will be interesting to see whether Niroshan Dickwella, who has been added to the Sri Lankan squad, following the end of his suspension on grounds of the bio bubble breach in England, gets a game.

Dinesh Chandimal is more suited to red ball cricket as a wicketkeeper batter but Dickwella provides the X factor.

Both Kusal Mendis and Ramesh Mendis are with the squad but are injured and are unlikely to take any part in the series.

Mayank to open with Rohit

With KL Rahul still having not fully recovered from his side strain, Rohit Sharma, who will captain India for the first time in red-ball cricket, and Mayank Agarwal are all set to open the batting for India.

This will be the first time in 10 years that India will take the field without either Cheteshwar Pujara or Ajinkya Rahane, with both batters having been dropped from the Test squad on account of poor form.

Hanuma Vihari has performed well in the few opportunities that he has got, mostly on overseas tours, will likely slot at number 3, with Virat Kohli at number 4.

Kohli is playing his 100th Test match and will have the crowd to witness the occasion. Earlier, there was some controversy around there being no spectators in the stands in the historic test match for the former Indian captain, but that has been resolved now.

Gill vs Iyer

The real question in the Indian playing XI will be for the number 5 spot where India have to choose between Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer. Gill was all set to bat in the middle order in the test series against New Zealand at home but a last-minute injury to KL Rahul meant that he had to open with Mayank Agarwal and did well, scoring a couple of half centuries. Just before the South Africa tour, he had a shin injury and had to be left out of the squad.

In the home test matches against New Zealand, Shreyas Iyer did a terrific job, scoring a century in his debut innings and another half century in the second innings.

So, you can look at the incumbent question from either angle and that is a question for the management to answer.

3rd spinner or 3rd pacer?

With Ishant Sharma having been dropped from the squad, India will have to choose between Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami for the second seamer's role.

They can also choose to go with all three pacers and pick Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin as the spin bowling all rounders -- another decision the management will have to take based on the pitch on offer in Mohali.

Predicted Playing XIs

India
- Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill/Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj/Mohammad Shami

Sri Lanka - Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Jeffrey Vandersay, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Embuldeniya, Dushmantha Chameera

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