Pallekele Test: India aim for a whitewash; hosts to play for pride
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Pallekele: The third and the final test in Pallekele is about to begin in a few hours time and to no one’s surprise, the Indian team under Virat Kohli has already pocketed the series 2-0.
The hosts hardly showed fightback barring the third day of the second test as it has been an easy going series for the number one ranked Test team.
The visitors hardly encountered any challenge from the Sri Lankan team in both the tests. In the first match, they were blown away by Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara in the first innings and if that wasn’t enough, Virat Kohli and Abhinav Mukund added salt to injury in the second innings, as India ultimately thrashed Sri Lanka by a huge margin of 304 runs.
In the second match, comeback man KL Rahul played a good hand of 57 but it was once again the dependable Pujara who stood up to the occasion and registered his second Test ton on the trot and along with Ajinkya Rahane, he put on a strong partnership that saw India post a 600+ total for the second time in two tests. Also, wicketkeeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja contributed with the willow in that huge first innings total.
With the ball, Ashwin returned to register a five-wicket haul and helped dismiss the hosts for just 183 runs. Kohli opted to enforce the follow-on and for the first time in the series, the Sri Lankans made a comeback as openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis both registered centuries to lead the hosts’ charge. But their fightback lasted only for a brief amount of time as Ravindra Jadeja scalped five wickets to hand the hosts a heavy defeat of an innings and 53 runs.
India would however look to end the series with a whitewash and one has to say that there are all chances of the same happening. Ravindra Jadeja, who was handed a one-match ban would probably be replaced by Kuldeep Yadav. But Axar Patel has been named as his replacement and it would be interesting to see who makes the playing XI in Pallekele.
The hosts however have suffered a huge setback as their best bowler Rangana Herath is out with an injury and wouldn’t be able to play. This would be a huge dent to their chances of winning a match with pride at stake.
However they would be joined by fast bowlers Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Gamage.
Skipper Dinesh Chandimal would however want to put together a perfect combination heading into the third and final test. The Sri Lankans would fight for the sake for pride while the Indians would be mighty pleased with the way things have gone so far and would look to continue in the same way.