After a thrilling end to the opening Test match in Kolkata, the attention now turns to Vidarbha Stadium in Nagpur where the second Test between Sri Lanka and India will commence on Friday.
Recap from first Test
Having lost the toss in Kolkata, the hosts struggled early and were eventually bundled out for 172 in an innings which dragged across three days due to rain on a pacer-friendly surface at Eden Gardens. Sri Lanka, in reply managed to gain a healthy 122-run lead that put India in a spot of bother after both teams had batted.
Virat Kohli’s magnificent ton in India’s 2nd innings, turned the tables on the final day setting Sri Lanka a tricky target of 231 in under 2 sessions. The Indian pace bowlers changed the game in riveting fashion, nearly manufacturing a result out of nowhere as they reduced Sri Lanka to 75/7 when bad light brought an end to the game.
Sri Lanka’s wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella while..
India recorded their first Test win against Sri Lanka in Nagpur in 1986. The two sides played at Nagpur again in 1997; the game ended in a draw. The new Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium has only been hosting Tests since 2008. It is the largest stadium in India in terms of field area and Sri Lanka is yet to play at the venue.
From the 5 Test matches played at this venue, India has won three, lost one game against South Africa in 2010 and drawn one against England in 2012.
Pitch & Weather Conditions
Jamtha stadium in Nagpur is renowned to be produce dust-bowls but this time around, it will have a tinge of green since the Indian team management looks ahead to the away tours of South Africa followed by England and later Australia in 2018.
Incidentally, the same pitch that was deemed poor by the ICC when it turned out to be a rank turner during a Test against South Africa in 2015 will be used for this game as well.
Nagpur is unlikely to replicate similar conditions to what we saw at the Eden Gardens with rain seemingly a distant threat and as such overhead assistance will not be likely for the seamers.
Nagpur – A green tinge across the wicket when the second Test.
The visitors had more positives than negatives in the first Test the chief f which being fast bowler Suranga Lakmal who took a match-bag of 7 for 119; his spells on day one and five will be remembered by Sri Lankan fans for a long time.
The openers had a poor outing while Rangana Herath made his presence felt only with the bat. Sri Lanka might be tempted to strengthen their batting by bringing in Dhananjaya De Silva for Dasun Shanaka but the seam-bowling all-rounder might keep his place due to the surface on offer as well as his performance in the 1st Test.
Probable XI – Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Thirimanna, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage
The man-of-the-match Bhuvneshwar Kumar and opener Shikhar Dhawan will not take part in the Nagpur Test as they have opted out due to personal reasons. Murali Vijay will slot in to open the batting while seamer Ishant Sharma will make a comeback to replace Kumar even though Vijay Shankar, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder, has been named as his replacement.
Probable XI – KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
Sri Lanka will bring in some confidence after eking out a draw in the manic final session after holding all the aces throughout the rain-hit match. Both teams will look for the upper hand from the first day itself and the toss could prove to be a major factor once again. India will still go in as the favourites but Sri Lanka will look to build on their much improved performance in the 1st Test.