The only wicket-taker for Sri Lanka in Galle on the first day’s play against India, Nuwan Pradeep has gradually risen as the main fast-bowler for the island nation, especially in Test cricket.


Prior to this game, Pradeep had not played Test cricket since January, 2017 due to injuries. He was by far Sri Lanka’s best bowler in England during the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 taking 6 scalps in 3 matches. He played three ODIs against Zimbabwe bowling excellent lines and lengths before injuring his hamstring.

He was drafted straight back into the side for the clash against the world number 1 Test side which speaks the volume of trust the team management has on Pradeep, “Nuwan Pradeep was the most outstanding I thought. Even in England he bowled well and against Zimbabwe too he bowled well. He is our number one at the moment.” Sri Lanka Team Manager and Selector Asanka Gurusinha said.

Pradeep bowls a fuller, more testing length than the other Sri Lankan quicks, and moves it enough to get rewards. His surprise short delivery can be deadly which was quite evident when Indian captain Virat Kohli was dismissed on Wednesday.

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Former Sri Lanka Coach Graham Ford once said Pradeep has grown as a cricketer. The right-arm quick never played leather ball cricket in school but was a find from a local fast-bowling hunt in 2010, “He’s always been a guy that runs in hard and tries really hard. He’s got the ability to move the ball both ways. He’s also got the ability to now assess conditions and make a decision on the types of lengths he should be hitting on a particular surface. He’s grown a great deal as a bowler.” Ford had said.

More than the Sri Lankan bowling, it was the aggressive approach taken by Shikhar Dhawan who was not even in the original squad. He replaced Murali Vijay prior to arriving in Sri Lanka and later found himself in the final XI due to the sickness for KL Rahul, “My plans were to go to Melbourne and spend time with my family, do training and get fit for the one-day series. I was in Hong Kong on holiday and from there I flew back to India and joined the team. That was my plan and I think destiny had a different plan for me. I am happy and thankful to God.” Dhawan who smashed a 168-ball 190 on the opening day said.

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India smashed their way 399 for 3 on first day and set to make a score excessing 500 and put pressure on the hosts albeit the pitch looks an absolute belter to bat on. 399 runs scored by India is the highest total at the close of opening day’s play by any team visiting the Sri Lankan shores, overtaking 362 for two by West Indies at the same venue in 2010.

“This is Galle and after scoring 600 runs you can still lose a Test match. Our batsmen have to just go out and play good cricket. Let’s see what happens on the last two days.” Gurusinha optimistically stated.