It’s been 22 long years since India have last won a Test series in Sri Lanka. Though tigers in subcontinent, it’s one zone where India have failed to dominate. Suraj Choudhari explores most of the avenues and pens down India’s chances to break the Lanka jinx.

The Virat Kohli-led India will play a three match-Test series starting Wednesday. For India to break the jinx there is a dire urge for them to focus on some basic principles and execute it. It’s not the lack of efforts; India has all the requisite elements to dominate this format but they seem to be missing the much needed X factor and lack of temperament.  

Designed by Srushti Takale
Designed by Srushti Takale

Kohli has led the team from the front in a Test series Down Under last year and his performance in Sri Lanka will be crucial as one famously saw how Joe Root triggered England to regain the Ashes Urn. Kohli has been out of touch lately. He is a good player of tweakers and Sri Lanka’s primary weapon in the sub-continent conditions will undoubtedly be spin. If a captain steps up and contributes it will automatically bolster the whole team’s confidence. On top of it, if he fires with the bat it will ultimately boost his captaincy.

Kohli is an attacking captain and he should look to play three spinners in the line-up. As Kohli has already mentioned that he is looking to play five bowlers, three of them should be spinners. India have Amit Mishra in their ranks and a leg-spinner adds the much needed variety to the attack.

Batting and bowling are always discussed but it’s fielding too that has let India down off late in the longer format. India are a brilliant fielding side in the shorter formats but since the Test format, the slip cordon has been tested. If India are eyeing to break the hex, it is decisive that they pull up on that front.

Now with Murali Vijay being ruled out of the first Test due to a hamstring injury, India shouldn’t make the blunder of throwing an out of form Rohit Sharma at No.3. They can’t afford to put a foot wrong in the first game and in order to add solidity; the tried and tested No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara should walk in. Also, the latter has been in a better form and it adds more balance for sure.

Comparing the two sides, India definitely wear a stronger look. The history may seem intimidating but the fact is that they will be playing a Test in Sri Lanka after five long years. Things have changed, most of the players have enhanced but the psychological scare, should be eliminated. If India play to their potential, there’s no reason why they can’t conquer the series, just like how Pakistan did very recently.

 

(Suraj Choudharian avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with Criclife)